COVID-19 ops: AEOT provides lifesaving support, transfer to positive patients

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to Air Force Reserve Command from various locations within the United States arrived at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to assist with coronavirus disease 2019 operations from May 2-3.

The 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight received 58 personnel from the 514th, 315th, 439th, 934th, 45th and 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts; Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota; MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. These AE technicians are responsible for transporting patients primarily out of the United States Central Command area of responsibility where they will receive treatment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

The personnel will form into groups referred to as Transportation Isolation teams. Each team consists of 16 medical personnel to include three flight nurses, four AE technicians, three critical care air transport team members, two biomedical equipment engineers, an infectious disease specialist, public health tech, logistician, and bioenvironmental engineer. Each performs a critical role in the safe transport of COVID-19 patients.

Members of the Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team (AEOT) are responsible for managing the launch and recovery of missions to include aircraft configuration and overseeing flight line activities for safe patient loading and unloading. The incoming AEOT consists of an 11-person team comprised of flight nurses, duty controllers, aeromedical evacuation technicians, and medical service corps officers.

“As AEOT members we are tasked to provide unparalleled communication, coordination and support to ensure each mission is successful within our reach,” said Capt. Jessica Otto, 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron and 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuations Flight nurse and AEOT officer-in-charge.

The mission also requires the AEOT to interface with local base agencies such as the 721st Aerial Port Squadron, 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron, the En-route Patient Staging Flight and the Theater Patient Movement Requirements Center-Europe.

A global problem requires global support. The cooperation of various bases demonstrates Airmen’s ability to meet this demand.

“It’s been extremely rewarding supporting the transportation isolation system COVID-19 ops as an AEOT member,” Otto said. “It’s great to know I had a hand in getting patients transported safely to a higher echelon of care.”