The Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) System is a unique and significant part of the nation’s mobility resources. Its mission is to provide time sensitive, mission critical en route care to patients to and between medical treatment facilities. Care is provided by Air Force medics specially trained to operate within the global AE system.
The end of the Cold War and the associated military downsizing resulted in a reduced forward medical presence. Reducing theater beds created an increased dependence on the AE system. Advanced care capability was also pushed farther forward to link casualties to life-saving medical treatment as early as possible in the care continuum.
As the lead command for AE, Air Mobility Command is responsible for organizing, training and equipping the AE forces and oversees an integral system of command and control, operational and clinical training, communications, staging and patient care. The AMC/Command Surgeon (SG) is the execution agency responsible for resourcing, maintaining and recycling inflight medical equipment and patient movement items to support DOD patient movement.
Aeromedical Evacuation capability is a system of systems including ground and airborne forces providing and supporting medical care inflight and within ground patient staging platforms. AE crews and critical care transport teams execute patient movement predominately on Mobility Air Forces aircraft, as well as on sister service, contracted, and international partner airframes. AE forces operate anywhere air operations occur in support of the full range of military operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Pacific Air Forces are responsible for their theater-assigned AE airlift and supporting ground medical units. During contingencies where requirements exceed theater AE capabilities, AMC normally provides tailored augmentation forces to support increased intratheater requirements and expands its intertheater capability to support movement between theaters of operation or to the continental U.S., as required.
The AE system is decentralized with AMC/SG responsible for clinical operations oversight of Air Force en route care. AMC/A3 maintains overall responsibility for assigned AE forces and missions and is responsible for all operational aspects of AE. This designation streamlines operational aircraft and personnel assigned to the AE squadrons under the same authority. In this capacity, A3 directs intra/inter-theater AE operations and all airlift aspects of the AE mission, establishes and implements operational training and evaluation guidance as outlined in 10- and 11-series publications and manages the operational training and standardization and evaluation.
The U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (Air Force Material Command) and Air Education and Training Command provide standardized formal training for aircrew members and patient staging personnel supporting the AE mission.
The Air National Guard (ANG) has nine AE squadrons and the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) has a total of 18 AE squadrons. When combined with ground medical units, the Air National Guard and Reserve account for 70 percent of AE forces supporting the AE system. There are four active duty AE squadrons: two in the continental U.S. and one each in USAFE and PACAF. Active duty AE squadrons and medical facilities provide 29 percent of the total AE capability. Each component plays a critical role in AE mission execution during both peace and conflict. Together, AE and ground medical units across each AF component provide AE crews, specialized critical care teams, command, ground support, patient staging and infrastructure needed to establish and conduct AE mission operations.
Point of Contact
Air Mobility Command
, Office of Public Affairs, (618) 229-7843
(Current as of August 2014)