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Reserve aeromedical evacuation medics called to the fight against COVID-19

Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander, addresses approximately 10 Airmen with the 403rd Wing's 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prior to their departure April 15, 2020. The Reserve Citizen Airmen were mobilized to support COVID-19 relief efforts. These reservists will provide life-saving in-flight patient care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander, addresses Airmen with the 403rd Wing's 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prior to their departure April 15, 2020. The Reserve Airmen were mobilized to support COVID-19 relief efforts. These reservists will provide life-saving in-flight patient care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

Medical personnel with the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron board a C-17 Globemaster III April 15, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Personnel with the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron board a C-17 Globemaster III April 15, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. This group of 433rd AES personnel are part of nearly 100 Air Force Reserve Airmen deploying in support of COVID-19 patient movement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kristian Carter)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Approximately 100 Air Force Reserve aeromedical evacuation specialists from across the country have been called up to help care for Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Airmen will participate in the COVID-19 aeromedical evacuation hub that has been established at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and will fly aeromedical evacuation, transportation isolation system and critical care missions in the nation or worldwide as needed.

These newly mobilized Reservists are part of the more than 500 Air Force Reserve members now mobilized around the U.S. in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.

“Approximately 60% of America’s capability to provide global patient movement resides in the Air Force Reserve,” said Col. Beth Ann Spoon, AFRC chief of aeromedical evacuation. “Our flight nurses, technicians, critical-care providers and support personnel are highly trained to take care of patients at altitude. They are consistently called upon to use this expertise for every disaster or major event that affects the United States.”

The request for support came from U.S. Transportation Command with Reserve Airmen in aeromedical evacuation squadrons around the nation now mobilized as the Department of Defense continues to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

“Our Reserve Citizen Airmen are truly taking care of Americans,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve. “Our level of effort is in support of what our nation needs. We remain ready to respond wherever our Reserve Airmen are needed most.”

The primary mission for AE Reservists is to provide lifesaving in-flight patient care in response to contingencies and humanitarian emergencies. These are specialized medical teams, consisting of flight nurses, aeromedical evacuation technicians, physicians and support personnel. These teams can operate on a number of Air Force aircraft including the C-130H/J Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135R Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender and the C-5 Galaxy.

The call for aeromedical support came a week and a half after the Air Force Reserve mobilized more than 120 ground medical personnel across the nation to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, to help with the fight against COVID-19 in New York City.

As COVID-19 response requirements for more medical personnel, aeromedical evacuation capabilities, logistics experts and other specialties grew, the Air Force Reserve was granted the authority to activate the inactive Reserve, as needed, by the president’s March 27th executive order.

Airmen willing to volunteer for mobilization should contact their squadron commander, unit deployment manager, Readiness Integration Office Detachment, Functional Area Manager and if medical, email: HQAFRC.SG.AFRCPHEOs@us.af.mil, or Aeromedical Evacuation, email: afrc.hqa3tm@us.af.mil, to self-identify their availability. In the body of the e-mail please provide your name, rank, AFSC, assigned/attached unit, civilian email, address, phone number and if you are currently involved in COVID-19 response in your civilian job.

For additional questions and answers regarding mobilization of the Select Reserve and the IRR, visit the Q&A section at www.afrc.af.mil/covid-19.

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