192nd Medical Group provides healthcare to Spangdahlem Air Base Family Health Clinic

  • Published
  • By Captain Craig Carper
  • 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing Medical Group provided health care at the 52nd Medical Group Family Health Clinic July 6-21, 2014 in Spangdahlem, Germany. The Medical Group sent 17 Airmen of varying specialties including doctors, nurses, medical technicians, physical therapists, logistic technicians and administrative support to the clinic. The Airmen treated approximately 275 patients and ensured active-duty military members and their families received quality health care this summer.
The medical team supported critical shortage areas in the clinic, ensuring continuity of care during the permanent change of station season for active-duty members. The request was a "short notice" tasking, said Colonel Brian Preston, 192nd Medical Group Commander.
"The medical team executed the mission flawlessly," said Preston. "We were able to demonstrate our ability to rapidly deploy, manage logistics and execute the mission."
In a typical situation like this, both dollars and days are provided to the unit from Active Duty or the National Guard Bureau in support of the mission tasking. However, with increased budget and fiscal restraints, neither of those options was available. The Medical Group leadership looked for ways to support the request and determined they could use annual training days to "self-fund" the mission.
This approach provided real-world training opportunities while fulfilling an Air Guard overseas medical training requirement that occurs every four years. The transportation costs were minimal as well. The medical crew used regularly scheduled military rotator flights and shuttles to travel to-and-from Spangdahlem.
The opportunity to work side-by-side with active duty Airmen provided many learning and career broadening opportunities for the Guardsmen. According to Major Will Bolling, 192nd Medical Group Director of Operations, "the integration of our medical team members was seamless."
"Our team did exactly what they are trained to do," said Bolling. "They came in, immediately developed partnerships and provided medical services ensuring no disruption in medical care to military families."
The efforts of the 192nd medical team were recognized by Col Jill Scheckel, 52nd Medical Group commander when she extended an offer for this team to return again next year.
"The 192nd medical team seamlessly integrated with our active duty staff and performed superbly. It is a true testimony of the Total Force construct and the professionalism that the 192nd MDG displayed while serving the Spangdahlem patients," said Scheckel
The training and learning opportunities were not limited to the family health clinic. Spangdahlem is home to one of the Air Force Medical Service's 11 Tier One Medical "Simulation Labs" where medical team members train on "mechanical trauma dummies" known as the "medi-man". The dummies have the capability to talk and complain about ailments while medical team members evaluate and take the necessary steps to assist them. Ultimately, the dummy will "crash", providing trauma response training and fine tuning medics' skills in a simulated environment.
"The training we participated in with the 52nd Medical Group was top notch," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Folks, 192nd Medical Group. "The use of the "Medi-Man" was the closest thing to actual casualties I have treated in the field. It was great to see how the implementation of this program benefits our training in the most realistic environment possible."
The overall experience was an opportunity to meet mission requirements, demonstrate abilities in a real world environment and develop stronger relationships with active-duty Air Force members.