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.