DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. – Aeromedical evacuation squadrons from across the Air Force Reserve Command joined together to conduct aeromedical and aircraft familiarization training on the newest refueling airframe in the Air Force – the KC-46A Pegasus – creating the very first all-reserve crew to fly the next-generation aircraft.
Over the course of three days, AE squadrons from the 446th Airlift Wing, 94th AW, 908th AW, and 927th Air Refueling Wing tested their medical proficiencies on the newest addition to the tanker fleet.
“Because this is a brand-new aircraft, the aeromedical teams train to become familiar and qualified with them so that they can complete their missions,” said Lt. Col. Efrain Guadalupe, 514th AES standards and evaluations chief. “This training helps them familiarize with where things are, what to do on the aircraft, and where to go during emergencies.”
The Pegasus is a next-era multirole tanker, capable of providing fuel, as well as carrying passengers, cargo, and patients. As with any new piece of equipment, the aeromedical teams needed to train with the airframe to become more familiar with it and to be able to utilize it to its full potential when it comes time to employ it in aeromedical evacuation missions. To gain experience and become comfortable on the airframe, various aeromedical teams from across AFRC flew on the aircraft from here to Oahu, Hawaii, utilizing the 10-hour trip to the island to run simulated in-air medical and aircraft emergencies.
The 77th Air Refueling Squadron – from the 916th Air Refueling Wing – flew the Pegasus here on April 21. Instructors from the 514th AES were on board, as well as teams from the 446th, 908th, and 45th AES. The aeromedical teams quickly began familiarizing themselves with basic functions, equipment locations, and proper egress procedures on the aircraft before departing for Hawaii.
The next day, the all-reserve team took off, beginning their cross-country flight to Hawaii. During the flight, the aeromedical teams worked together to complete various medical and in-flight emergency scenarios to become proficient on the aircraft. The training was also an opportunity for the various aeromedical teams to work together and gather knowledge from one another.
“This kind of training works very well to find best practices and to incorporate them into our own operations,” said Guadalupe.
Finally, the training on the new aircraft acted as an avenue to train and equip other teams in the future.
“This aircraft is the future,” said Tech. Sgt. Yochahel Zink, a 94th AES aeromedical evacuation technician. “Eventually, we are all going to pass on the knowledge and experience to our peers in the future.”