COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
After a week of preparation, training, and planning, the 14th Medical Group at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, performed an exercise called “Ready Eagle” on March 11, 2022, aimed to strengthen the readiness of Air Force medics in hostile situations.
The Ready Eagle Exercise, comprised of over 80 medics from the 14th MDG, was designed to be a simulated CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) attack and medical response training environment.
Ready Eagle took place at two locations to maximize efficiency. First response teams cared for patients at the Base’s Fitness Center and after receiving first aid, patients were transferred to the 14th MDG for decontamination and further care.
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., a business contracted through the Air Force’s Medical Readiness Agency, led the training and exercise. Matthew Schilling, BAH Inc. associate and project lead for Ready Eagle, explained the importance of the training.
“One of the things we started off with was telling the Medical Group to expect the unexpected during the exercise,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to have to respond to, to save lives.”
Schilling went further into specific events throughout history that further emphasize the importance of being prepared for anything. He gave examples of the Ramstein air show disaster in 1988, the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, and other examples at facilities across the country.
Beginning on March 5, Schilling and his team began instructing 14th MDG specialists for the exercise to get the team ready for the final exercise on March 11.
“The training is focused on installation all-hazards medical response teams,” Schilling said. “Specifically on skills proficiency for medical response, as well as team integration. We do everything from emergency medical treatment, tactical combat casualty care, patient decontamination, patient tracking, resource tracking, bioenvironmental, all of it, throughout the whole scope of things.”
After, Schilling gave comments on how the exercise went.
“It went excellent,” he said. “The 14th MDG did very well working as a team to save lives. They were also able to identify areas of improvement during their all-hazards medical response.”
Lt. Col. Kenneth Rosenblum, 14th MDG Healthcare Operations Squadron commander, explained his perspective on the significance of Ready Eagle.
“In our day-to-day jobs at the clinic, we’re not dealing with trauma and it’s not an experience our airmen get to have,” he said. “We have a dual role as a healthcare organization. One is to provide healthcare to other beneficiaries and the other is to support the wing’s mission and installation in disasters.”
Along with being prepared for emergencies at their home installation, Ready Eagle allows airmen to become more comfortable in contingency operations, Rosenblum said.
“We frequently deployed medics out of here and these types of exercises give them the skills necessary for operations downrange,” he said. “Whatever comes our way, we will be able to respond.”