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455 EAES Airman provides critical care anywhere

Story by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox

455th Air Expeditionary Wing

When injured Airmen need to be transported, medical care can’t stop mid-flight and it is the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Airmen who make sure that doesn’t happen.

Helping provide patients with lifesaving emergency and prehospital care is Capt. Asha Wyatt, 455th EAES aeromedical evacuation operations officer and flight nurse.

“Here at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, my job is the AEOO,” said Wyatt. “My position is to manage the crews as well as see how to coordinate with leadership as far as the tasking; providing medical support for the patience here in the area of responsibility.”

Wyatt said that she spends a lot of time monitoring their nine-line, which is a report to request medical evacuation, and doing a lot of coordination for patient movements.

“We work with Resolute Support Headquarters and their Combined Joint Special Operations Center as well as the patient evacuation coordination cell to coordinate patient evacuations,” said Wyatt. “We also have to work with the Aeromedical Evacuation Control Team team at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, and then coordinate with Ramstein Air Base, Germany where all our patient information is inputted and provided back here to our crews.”

Lt. Col. Matthew Hendell, 455th EAES outgoing commander, said nurses like Wyatt enable the squadron to support and provide that vital medical care for all troops fighting the fight in Afghanistan.

“We are critical to ensuring that troops in Afghanistan have a safety net during operations,” said Hendell. “We guarantee that the best possible medical treatment is rapidly available and continues in transport. This is how America fights. We take care of our own.”

Currently deployed from Pope Army Airfield, N.C., Wyatt has been in the Air Force for six years and is currently on her first deployment.

“I was excited to be going on this deployment,” said Wyatt. “This is my first deployment and I have heard how wonderful the AE deployments have been in the past, so I was really looking forward to this.”

The 455th EAES mission is to provide ready, on-call, aeromedical evacuation throughout Afghanistan.

“The 455th EAES’ ability to provide aeromedical evacuation anywhere, anytime, and to any degree also enables combat operations by guaranteeing medical coverage to commanders on the ground,” said Hendell. “Because we can do this, we don’t just do works of mercy but truly enable the fight.”

Wyatt has always had aspirations of being a nurse, but really wanted to make a difference with the services she provides.

“I wanted to join the Air Force so that I could do nursing for veterans and active duty service members,” said Wyatt. “I wanted to see what opportunities the Air Force could offer me. I am currently working towards my master in science for nursing in the hopes of one day being able to work in a college.”

While deployed to BAF, Wyatt said her favorite part about this deployment has been working with the different forces as well as all the different entities behind the scenes, like seeing all the coordination that has to happen to evacuate one patient.

“My job is important here to provide aeromedical evacuation support to all the patience in theater,” said Wyatt. “Not just U.S. forces but afghan patients along with coalition and NATO forces. We provide them medical support so that they have the confidence to go out in battle and know that they will be taken care of. If we can reach them in the golden hour or if dust off can get there first, we have a 100% survivability rate, while having the ability to get them back to the states in 24 hours.”

The golden hour refers to the first hour after injury. The 455th EAES is the only AE unit in the country and are tasked to be ready, 24/7, to provide inflight medical care.

“If my unit wasn’t here it would eliminate the priority and urgency of medical care that is provided,” said Wyatt. “We have two CCAT (critical care air transport) teams here, and we can not only just take priority patients but also critically wounded patients, which allow them to get out faster. If we remove that entity, the 100% survivability rate would be severely dampened.”

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