Flight nurse on medevac duty on Air Force birthday

  • Published
  • By Louis A. Arana-Barradas
  • Air Force Print News
First Lt. John Rinaldo will be on aeromedical evacuation duty on the Air Force's 59th birthday and will not have much time to celebrate with the cake, ice cream and punch.

Instead, like for the past 15 years, he and other Airmen around the world will report to work to fight or support the ongoing war on terrorism.

This war -- like all the ones before -- is taking Airmen to dangerous, far-flung locations to do their jobs. Some of those jobs they had never done before. Others at stateside bases provide the people and support needed to carry on that war.

Lieutenant Rinaldo is a Guard flight nurse deployed to the 791st Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He said that on the Air Force birthday, he will be working in the best job in the Air Force -- aeromedical evacuation.

"I can't think of anything more rewarding than bringing home our wounded men and women," the two-year veteran said. "Every time I fly, I'm surrounded by, and helping, heroes from every branch of our services."

The Air Force may be a year older, but it is doing more today, with a smaller force, than it did even five years ago. Since becoming a separate service in 1947, the Air Force has increased its capabilities and its global reach now stretches into space.

Today, the Air Force and its sister services are busy achieving what Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne called spherical situational awareness. This allows the U.S. military to take "a comprehensive, spherical view -- at once vertical, horizontal, real time and predictive, penetrating and defended in the cyber realm."

But in a message to the force, Secretary Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley said the Air Force is the globe's dominant force in air, space and cyberspace because of its Airmen.

"Our knowledge-enabled Airmen have revolutionized the way our nation defends itself and its allies across the full spectrum of threats," they said.

Yet the threats of terror attacks on the nation are still a reality. That makes the Air Force's role even more important. That reality is not lost on the sergeant from Bremerton, Wash., who deployed to Germany from the 146th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Calif.

"The Air Force's most important role is to ensure our country remains the leader in air power," he said. "For my job, that means our superior air mobility can get any sick, injured or wounded member from any austere location in the world to a definitive medical facility within 24 hours."

As Airmen continue to do their duty today, there are even more changes taking place. And each day new technology and smart processes make doing Air Force business smarter and more efficient. It is hard to predict where the service will be in five years.

But that is clear to Lieutenant Rinaldo.

"The Air Force and medical evacuation can only get better," he said. "Every day, aeromedical evacuation members are thinking of better ways to treat patients in flight. And every day air mobility is thinking of quicker ways to bring home our wounded.

"In five years we will still be the most dynamic Air Force in the world and the world leader in air power," he said.