Special Tactics medical professionals provide critical care and evacuation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Naomi Griego
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Special Tactics Medicine (STM) professionals treated simulated patients during the Air Force Special Operations Command Casualty Evacuation course here, Dec. 17.

The training was the first of its kind using a CV-22 Osprey simulator. The CV-22 is one of the most utilized airframes for immediate evacuation of special operations forces from forward combat zones.

John Frentress, CASEVAC course instructor, provides in class presentations for AFSOC medical teams. They also practice CASEVAC in a simulated combat environment on the ground and in flight.

Frentress has instructed the course since its induction in 2006.

The two-week course consists of classroom presentations and hands-on training. The course exposes students to a simulated battlefield environment and tests their skills and stress management.

"We get them familiarized with the equipment they'll use downrange," said Frentress. "They're already medically trained, and we put that training to use in these unique environments they aren't typically exposed to."

Today's training targeted members of the 24th Special Operations Wing's SOST-SOCCET. Special Operations Surgical Teams - Special Operations Critical Care Evacuation Teams consist of general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, critical care nurses, emergency room physicians, certified registered nurse anesthetists, respiratory therapists and surgical technicians.

"They can't go downrange and do their job without this course," said Frentress. "It's a requirement, and they have to complete it before deploying."

"It's very good operational training. We get hands on practice and the training has been very good," said Maj Dustin Lybeck, a STM orthopedic surgeon. "Sometimes it gets a little bit messy, but it gives us a real-world feel."

The SOST-SOCCET mission, created following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, is primarily damage control surgery and critical care evacuation of special operations forces in far forward areas. They are the military Level II surgical capability bridging the gap between Level I immediate battlefield care and Level III care provided at a medical treatment facility.

"Our operators travel to the most dangerous places in the world," said Maj. Kevin Ramsey, Special Tactics medical planner. "We want them to know, should they fall, we'll be there to provide the best care possible."