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178 MDG prepares for Patriot Exercise 2011

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  • By Senior Airman Amy N. Adducchio
  • 178th Fighter Wing Public Affaris
     Members of the 178th Medical Group are gearing up for the domestic operations portion of Patriot Exercise 2011 beginning July 13 at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis. 178 MDG Guardsmen spent July 12 training and preparing at Volk Field CRTC.
     Senior Master Sgt. George Stevens and Master Sgt. Chris Keller, who are part of the Patriot cadre, lead the refresher training on how to set up an Expeditionary Medical Support Basic facility.
     EMEDS Basic is designed to facilitate surgical and primary medical care. The operation relies on aeromedical evacuation to transport patients to a higher level of care medical care facilities.
     The first tent serves as the emergency room. The second tent contains the operating room and a patient holding area with four beds, one which will be for dental. A third, standalone tent houses command and control, administration and supply.
     "Knowing how to set [EMEDS] up is really valuable and important," said Sergeant Keller. "I know several Guardsmen who have been put in that situation where they've been tasked to deploy, and when they get out in the field, part of what they are there to do in the early stages is set something like this up."
     Sergeant Keller showed the 178 MDG how to properly unload the tent components, construct the framework and cover the tents.
     "It's nice to see the teamwork--the doctors and nurses are assisting with setting up the EMEDS. Typically, it's just the enlisted," said Chief Master Sgt. Collette Friessen, the 178 MDG's senior enlisted Guardsmen at Patriot.
     The unit is also responsible for setting up the electrical components and stations inside the tent. Sergeant Stevens showed the group how to set up the liners, wiring, lighting and supplies.
     "Your occupation, which may not be similar to what you do militarily, can really be an asset. Let's say you're an electrician Monday through Friday, and on UTAs you're a med tech. You can really bring in those skills, talents and knowledge that you don't necessarily need for your military job, but it's something that you do in your civilian job," said Chief Friessen.
     Others in the unit have crossed trained from various Air Force specialty codes. This diversity is truly one of the unit's strengths, said Chief Friessen.
     The domestic operations portion of the exercise will teach the Guardsmen how to use the EMEDS Basic.
     "None of us are going to go up to a nurse or doctor and try to tell them how to do their job--they do that on a daily basis, but we're teaching them how to do their job in a deployed setting, which means we're teaching them the proper patient flow, how the different sections communicate with each other and how they up channel different scenarios that come up," said Sergeant Keller.
     The unit met at the end of the day to discuss operations during the exercise, but Guardsmen must be flexible in learning how to apply their skills in a deployed environment. Although the exercise lasts two days, what they learn is not confined to the exercise.
     "[Cadre] had a class in '07 who came through---it was Kansas Guard. While they were going through our class, the tornadoes hit Greensburg, they left our class having just been certified in EMEDS and when they got back, they had to go help out with the tornadoes. That's an example right there of where they just got done [with the training], and they actually use their training. It doesn't always work out that way, but you never know."