HomeNewsArticle Display

Illinois base prepares for possible war casualties

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN) -- As coalition forces zero in on Baghdad, there is a possibility of mass military casualties. If that happens, Scott AFB in America's heartland may serve as a central medical "hub" for getting wounded warriors to the care they need.

"If the number of casualties is great, we need to be prepared," said Col. Charles Beadling, 375th Medical Group commander.

In both peacetime and wartime, the base's location makes it an ideal center point in the national hub-and-spoke network of aeromedical evacuation flights, said Lt. Col. William Kormos, Joint Forces Command medical liaison officer to U.S. Transportation Command.

"If you happen to be from a unit in Texas, and you're at Walter Reed Army Medical Center getting specialty care, you'll probably fly into Scott, spend the night, and then fly down to Texas the next day," said Beadling. "That's the hub-and-spoke system that's already in existence."

If war casualties overwhelm the peacetime contingency care system, Department of Defense officials could activate the Integrated Continental United States Medical Operations Plan.

Under the plan, incoming patients who need critical care (for example, burn victims or those with cardiovascular problems) will be moved to the nearest specialty care unit, said Maj. Lenora Cook, 375th Aeromedical Staging Flight commander.

There is a limited intensive care unit in Scott AFB's hospital and more than a dozen civilian hospitals in the St. Louis metropolitan area may offer their available beds through an agreement with the National Disaster Medical System.

If the injuries are not critical, but require long-term care, patients will be sent on the next flight to their home station or a location near family, Cook said.

Should the plan be activated, the staging facility at the base hospital here can house those who do not require long-term care or patients with minor injuries.

"But for a full expansion capability, meaning we've exceeded the capacity of our building, we would have to go to an alternate facility," Beadling said. The alternate staging facility here would be the base teen center, he said.

"The ultimate goal is to get (the patients) patched up and sent back (to) their unit," Cook said.

Depending on military airlift aircraft availability, the Civil Reserve Air Fleet may shuttle war casualties, said Cook.

The fleet consists of participating civilian airlines contracted through the military to supplement the mission during contingencies.

"Those (Boeing) 767s can transport 80 to 100 patients," Cook said. "We have a specially designed ramp in our warehouse that we can roll up to the aircraft to get the passengers. It's phenomenal."

Officials at USTRANSCOM's Global Patient Movement Requirements Center, located here, coordinate inter- and intra-theater patient movement. The staging facility acts as a tactical arm to execute the center's plans.

On March 25, a group of patients arrived here with almost a ton of luggage.

The patients were driven in "am-buses," which are military buses configured to move litter and ambulatory casualties. Most were cared for and sent on their next flight in less than 12 hours.

"This is fast and furious business," Cook said.

The flight labored over the past few weeks to prepare for a possible activation by digging out extra linen from the warehouse and triple-checking equipment. Cook had to force her staff to go home on their days off.

"My job as a leader is not to let my troops burn out. If the numbers increase, I won't be able to give them time off," Cook said.

Regardless of preparations and contingency plans, the obvious preference is that the plan will never be activated.

"But if it is, we will demonstrate our commitment to superior service," said Col. Larry Strube, 375th Airlift Wing vice commander. (Courtesy of Air Mobility Command News Service)


Facebook Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: .@usairforce firefighters with the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron take part in a mock aircraft fire exercise at Andersen A…
RT @DeptofDefense: With a little help from my friends 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 The @usairforce @AFThunderbirds perform with the @rafredarrows in the largest a…
RT @AF_Academy: New Academy telescope will be largest available for public viewing in Colorado. https://t.co/0e4AJJTHUn https://t.co/uHT0Mb…
RT @DepSecDef: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett on confirmation as the 25th Secretary of the @usairforce. A businesswoman, attorney, dipl…
RT @30thSpaceWing: #DYK –VAFB is partially powered by a 200 acre, 28MW solar array, reducing its electrical demand by 35%, saving the base…
RT @WrightPattAFB: An @AFResearchLab team recently delivered version 2.0 of the Survival Health Awareness Responders Kit (SHARK) to @usairf
Watch the video of Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett being sworn in. Click the link to learn more about… https://t.co/agE0mT2cFj
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett, the 25th @SecAFOfficial. I know she will lead the charge to modernize @usairforce operati…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It’s a great day to be an Airman. Today Barbara Barrett officially became our 25th @SecAFOfficial. The men and women…
RT @DeptofDefense: Fill em up! ⛽ KC-135 Stratotankers from @RAFMildenhall refueled over 80 F-15s in a two-day exercise, offloading 480,000…
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today I officially became the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. I'm conscious of the extraordinary privilege of working w…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #BomberTaskForceEurope 20-1 is in full swing and B-52s from @TeamBarksdale are operating out of RAF Fairford to improve bomb…
RT @EsperDoD: During #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth, I challenge all @DeptofDefense employees to stay committed, ensuring they are following…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Special Delivery! ✈️📦 The @109thAW teamed up with the @RCAF_ARC for Operation Boxtop, an annual resupply mission to suppo…
We strive to increase our Airmen's lethality and capabilities. Learn about firefighters leading the cost-effective… https://t.co/Nrgx3BSrtl
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett for her overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by @SenateGOP & @SenateDems to be the 25th Se…
Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Houston to help #SpaceCity celebrate #AstronautWeek. He visited @spacecenterhouston and… https://t.co/Nymvd98qvQ
Our Airmen continuously work to strengthen our alliances. Learn more about how EOD partnered with Niger Armed Force… https://t.co/VwRIOnBokn
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of #HoustonWeHavePodcast by @NASA_Johnson where Gen Wilson joins Air Force Colon… https://t.co/Y7u9cHFtOt