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Flight medicine: a flight of their own

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
-- Personnel from the 36th Wing Medical Group and flight medicine clinic had a chance to see their patients immersed in their work environment during an incentive flight Oct.11 here.

"One of flight and operations medicines many responsibilities include ensuring our deployers' medical needs are met," said Maj. Dana Baker, 36th Medical Group aerospace medicine flight commander. "We coordinate closely with the deployed medical assets and assist with medical care for not only their flyers but all deployers at Andersen."

The flight served as an opportunity for flight crew and medical personnel to interact with each other while supporting the bomber aircraft stationed at Andersen during mid-air refueling.

"This gives the medical personnel an opportunity to see the different Airmen they may treat in the different and unique environments those Airmen work in," said Capt. Scott Avery, 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron flight surgeon. "This helps them see the big picture, and show them how they impact the mission."

Day-to-day medicine is described as abnormal physiology in a normal environment. Flight medicine is the normal physiology of a healthy crew in an abnormal environment, such as flying at 25,000 feet.

"Flights like these are important because it ensures that we have qualified Airmen that understand the concept of operations and understand the large Air Force in general," said Captain Avery.

The incentive flight took place on a Nebraska Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker with a Nebraska crew, though all jets, crews, and maintenance intermingle.

"These incentive flights are an example of the total force concept," said Captain Avery. "Just as the ANG works alongside active duty, medical and operational crews work together and it helps us to strengthen our team."

"This role is critical for continued support of the unique mission at Andersen," said Major Baker.

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