109th Airlift Wing participates in National Disaster Medical System Exercise

  • Published
  • By Capt. Anthony L. Bucci
  • 109th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs
Members from several local agencies across the Capital District participated in a coordinated National Disaster Medical System Exercise on Aug. 8 and 9 at Stratton Air National Guard Base, Schenectady, N.Y.

The agencies consisted of members from the 109th Airlift Wing, 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, the Albany Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Disaster Medical System, the Civil Air Patrol and the Alplaus Volunteer Fire Department.

During this exercise, patients were stabilized for transport, loaded onto an LC-130 Hercules and evacuated by members of the 139AES, who were sharpening their skills for an actual medical evacuation.

The patients, participating cadets from the Civil Air Patrol, were moved from the Aplaus Volunteer Fire Department to Stratton ANGB and loaded onto an LC-130 for transport.

This exercise highlighted the vital function of the 109AW and 139AES in the NDMS and homeland defense mission as well as the cooperation and coordination between the 109AW and New York state civilian medical and emergency management assets.

This exercise demonstrated interagency partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veteran's Affairs and the instrumental role of aeromedical evacuation in the national emergency response and national defense frameworks.

NDMS is a federally-coordinated system that augments the nation's medical response capability by combining federal and non-federal medical resources into a unified response to meet natural and man-made disaster needs, as well as support patient treatment requirements from military contingencies.

Stratton ANGB is designated as a federal coordinating center, one of only 10 National Guard Bases with this responsibility. The mission of an FCC is to recruit hospitals and maintain local non-federal hospital participation in the NDMS, coordinate exercise development and emergency plans with participating hospitals and other local authorities in order to develop patient reception, transportation, and communication plans, and during system activation, coordinate the reception and distribution of patients being evacuated to the area.

As members of the National Guard the airmen of the 109AW have responded to a number of state emergencies including Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

This exercise enabled the agencies to practice for future natural disasters.

The 109AW is the only unit in the United States military that flies aircraft equipped to land on snow. The wing provides support to National Science Foundation operations in Antarctica and Greenland and has also flown conventional C-130s in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.