National Guard February 2011 : Page 38
STATE ROUNDUP Air Care Guard trauma doctors and other medical specialists are helping treat the critically wounded on aeromedical evacuation flights HE AIR NATIONAL Guard has be-gun ﬂying a critical-care air trans-port team mission from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The CCATTs, which consist of a physi-cian specializing in critical care, pulmonol-ogy, anesthesiology or surgery, along with a critical-care nurse and a respiratory techni-cian, are designed to provide a higher level of care in the aeromedical evacuation sys-tem, said Col. Brett Wyrick, the Florida Air Guard’s air surgeon. The missions began last month. Teams will deploy from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for tours that vary from 60 to 180 days. “The Air Guard will place at least one CCATT on each rotation ﬂying out of Ramstein . . . and we are looking to com-bine with the Air Force Reserve to ﬁeld even more teams in the coming months,” Wyrick said. The mission has been handled by ac-tive-component Air Force teams, but they T 38 | Na tional Guard
Guard trauma doctors and other medical specialists are helping treat the critically wounded on aeromedical evacuation flights
THE AIR NATIONAL Guard has begun flying a critical-care air transport team mission from Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
The CCATTs, which consist of a physician specializing in critical care, pulmonology, anesthesiology or surgery, along with a critical-care nurse and a respiratory technician, are designed to provide a higher level of care in the aeromedical evacuation system, said Col. Brett Wyrick, the Florida Air Guard's air surgeon.
The missions began last month. Teams will deploy from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for tours that vary from 60 to 180 days.
"The Air Guard will place at least one CCATT on each rotation flying out of Ramstein . . . and we are looking to combine with the Air Force Reserve to field even more teams in the coming months," Wyrick said.
The mission has been handled by active- component Air Force teams, but they are now being stretched too thin. The Air Guard had CCATTs previously, but migrated away from the mission and more toward domestic response teams, Wyrick said.
Now, it is taking a role in the effort to stabilize patients with a higher level of injury throughout the flight from Germany to the United States.
"Because this is one of the primary missions that the Air Force does, and as a total force partner with the Air Force, we need to be involved in the missions they're involved with," Wyrick said.
"If it's important enough for the Air Force to do it, then it's important enough for the Air National Guard to do it."
The Air Guard is providing more than people, however. It has developed new technologies that will help save lives.
Because the mission is now more reliant on the KC-135 Stratotanker, new lighting and electrical generation gear was required.
The new light-emitting diode, or LED, lights provide the medic with "a true appearance of the skin at 40,000 feet in the middle of the night in a cramped airplane," said Brig. Gen. John Owen, the Air Guard advisor to the Air Mobility Command air surgeon.
The lighting was developed by maintainers of the Kansas Air Guard's 190th Air Refueling Wing, along with Patriot Taxiway Industries. The lighting is portable and can be added to an aircraft when needed.
The same maintainers solved a problem of electrical generation when the power aboard the KC-135 was found to be inadequate for a CCATT mission. They came up with a solution in six weeks after the Air Force said it would take 15 to 18 months to make the improvements to the aircraft.
In addition to its federal mission, a CCATT will also give governors a surge capacity for homeland response evacuations that otherwise would not exist.
"They can be available in the event of any natural or manmade disaster with civilian casualties," Wyrick said.
During a disaster response, one of the problems is the ability to move patients from an area of devastation to hospitals outside of the affected area, he said. CCATTs will allow a more immediate response to a critically injured patient than a traditional aeromedical evacuation team.
"The team, along with its special medical equipment, can turn almost any airframe into a flying intensive care unit within minutes," Wyrick said.
CCATTs are experienced in the care of critically ill or injured patients with multisystem trauma, shock, burns, respiratory failure, multiple organ failure or other life-threatening complications.
The team members are traditional Guardsmen, who have volunteered for the mission. They are taking time away from their civilian practices and occupations to fill the requirements.
To become a CCATT member, medical personnel must endure an extensive selection and a screening process. Once they are approved, they go to the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (CSTARS) center in Cincinnati for specific CCATT training.
The two-week class is held at the University of Cincinnati hospital because of its high volume of trauma victims.
It takes years to develop the clinical skills and abilities required for the CCATT and that makes the mission a good fit for Air Guard personnel, Wyrick said.
"By virtue of the fact that Guard physicians and reserve physicians are more experienced with certifications and clinical time under their belts, that makes an ideal mix for the CCATT teams," he said.
Wyrick said the Air Guard needs more skilled medical personnel in its ranks.
"We always are looking for good physicians, nurses and medical personnel," he said.
He thinks the CCATT mission will be a good recruiting tool for physicians and nurses.
"The CCATT is a perfect fit because it's a flying mission and you're actually taking care of patients and doing what you've been trained to do," he said.
– By Tech Sgt. John Orrell and Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Air National Guard and Air Force medical personnel comfort patients after their aircraft landed at Joint Base Andrews, Md., last month. Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
New Ground: Engineers Help Afghan Village Build Mosque
Soldiers with the 832nd Engineer Company visited the small village of Bajarwi, Afghanistan, in December to check the progress of a mosque being built with materials they donated.
"There was a project proposed by a local leader to help build a mosque in the village," 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Davis said. "The project was a carryover from the unit we replaced."
Several months ago, Guardsmen met with Sayad Kareem, a malik, or local leader, who represents 19 villages east of Bagram Air Field.
Kareem said the villagers in Bajarwi wanted to build a mosque to hold worship services.
"The people of Bajarwi did not have a mosque and were not able to get together and pray," he said. "Everyone in the village is happy and appreciative that the coalition has been able to support the construction of the mosque. Our economy is not that good, and that is why we could not build it completely by ourselves and requested the help of the coalition."
Aiding the construction of a mosque is a unique undertaking for coalition forces.
"It's very rare that U.S. or coalition forces would get to participate in the construction of a mosque," Capt. Tim Creasman, the civil-military operations officer, said.
Creasman said the villages are more likely to approach the coalition for assistance in education and quality-of-life issues as opposed to religious needs.
Both the citizens of Bajarwi and the soldiers from the Iowa Army National Guard unit said they look at the mosque construction as a step in an improved partnership between the local citizens and coalition forces.
The 832nd is part of the Iowa Army Guard's 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.
– By Staff Sgt. Ryan Matson
Honor-Guard Teams Serve At 10,000 Funerals in 2010
The New York Army National Guard's 130 honor-guard members helped more than 10,000 families bid a dignified farewell to their veterans at funerals across the state in 2010.
The 10 New York Military Forces Honor Guard offices from Long Island to Buffalo performed military honors at an average of 900 funerals each month, said Donald E. Roy, the director of the state's honor-guard program.
By the week prior to Christmas, New York honor-guard members had performed at 10,131 funerals in 2010, he said. About 9,000 were for World War II veterans.
New York is second only to California, which handles about 1,000 funerals weekly, in the number of services performed by Guard honor-guard members.
For most funerals, New York sends three honor-guard members. Federal law requires at least two honor-guard members fold and present a flag to the family members of veterans, if requested. New York sends three because it makes for a more impressive service, Roy said.
With only two soldiers present, the flag folding must be done beside the casket, he said. When three are present, one sounds Taps with an electronic bugle while the other two fold the flag above the casket.
The third soldier then joins the other two in turning the flag into a triangle and presenting it to the family, Roy said.
Soldiers killed in action, general officers and retired general officers, retired sergeants major and Medal of Honor recipients are entitled to full military honors – 21 soldiers with a seven-member firing party – at their funerals.
Those who die while in the service and retired soldiers are entitled to modified full honors, which entails a nine-member detail.
New York honor-guard members performed 50 full honors services and 300 modified services in 2010, Roy said.
They provide services primarily for soldiers and Army veterans, but can handle funerals for veterans of other services if requested, Roy said.
"We aim to provide the same service they do at Arlington [National Cemetery] with all the honor and dignity the veterans deserve," Roy said.
– New York National Guard release
Guard Division Takes Charge of U.S. Operations in Southern Iraq
The 36th Infantry Division is now one of the three Army divisions overseeing U.S. operations in Iraq.
During a formal transfer of authority ceremony Jan. 2, division headquarters personnel unfurled its colors and replaced the active-component Army's 1st Infantry Division, which had previously led U.S. efforts in the southern third of the country. The Texas Army National Guard division now commands two active-component brigades advising, training and assisting Iraqi security forces in the region.
Consistent with the Army's new modular approach to battlefield organization, the two brigades under the 36th's command are not those normally organic to the division.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment shares the Guard division's geographical roots, as it is based at Fort Hood, Texas, while the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division is from Fort Carson, Colo.
In remarks after accepting responsibility as the new U.S. Division-South commander, Maj. Gen. Eddy Spurgin, the 36th Infantry Division commander, paid tribute to his predecessors.
He said the two divisions served side by side in the Meuse Argonne campaign of World War I and that it was fitting that the two now once again were together ushering in a new phase of history in Iraq.
The transfer of authority marked the third time a Guard division has assumed responsibility for an area within Iraq during the course of U.S. operations in the country.
In 2009, the headquarters of Minnesota's 34th Infantry Division ran U.S. Division-South.
In 2004, New York's 42nd Infantry Division oversaw operations in northern Iraq.
– By Lt. Col. Robert Preiss
Intervention: Resiliency Training Expanded Ahead of Deployment
The 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is training as many soldiers as possible to recognize the warning signs of suicide in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
"The 45th IBCT's goal is to have at least 100 soldiers as well as key leaders and soldiers in the medical field trained in ASIST," said Maj. Brad Hanna, the brigade chaplain, of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.
"Usually, only chaplains and medical personnel receive this training," he said, "but with this amount of people, there should be at least two people per company trained to combat suicide."
The Oklahoma Army National Guard brigade initially had seven chaplains trained in ASIST for more than 3,000 soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. Since November, about 50 more soldiers have been trained with at least 50 more scheduled to participate in the next two courses.
The training is very different than the suicide prevention classes provided to all soldiers, Hanna said. As the program name implies, it focuses on intervention, preparing soldiers and key leaders to recognize suicidal behavior and how to deal with those behaviors.
Hanna said there are many reasons why soldiers commit suicide and each soldier is different.
"What could be the end of the world for one person could be a little mole hill for someone else and suicide is just one of the ways they feel they can end their pain," he said. "
Suicide intervention can be difficult in the Guard because some soldiers are afraid to confide in anyone about their thoughts out of the fear of being seen as weak or even the fear of being discharged from the military, Hanna said.
However, he said, times have changed and soldiers seeking help now are seen as strong for having the courage to ask for help.
– By Sgt. Ty Adcock
Wounded Guardsman Greets Returning Unit, Says 'Thanks'
Sgt. Edward Matayka, a medic with the 86th Brigade Combat Team, would have died last July if Spc. David Schwerer had not properly performed emergency medical techniques after a roadside bomb exploded beneath Matayka's truck in Afghanistan.
Instead, Matayka, who suffered significant injuries, was able to interrupt his recovery to greet Schwerer and more than 130 other members of the Vermont Army National Guard brigade when they returned home to South Burlington, Vt., Dec. 11.
After the two soldiers hugged and exchanged some private words, Matayka's wife, Karen, hugged her husband's life saver. She is also a Vermont Army Guard soldier.
"I'm so glad to see him," Schwerer said later.
Schwerer was in the lead vehicle of a four-vehicle convoy when the bomb went off, he told The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press at the ceremony.
"I started on him right away. I had to get a couple guys to get him out," he said. "Then I went to his legs."
Schwerer is a heavy-equipment operator, but has been trained in emergency medical techniques.
Matayka was severely wounded. He lost both legs and broke his back and jaw, and had other injuries. He has partial paralysis from a stroke that came during his recovery.
"It's the price I signed up for," he said.
The explosion killed Spc. Ryan Grady, 25, who was driving the vehicle. Another soldier was wounded.
At the ceremony in December, Matayka said he's been focused on his recovery, but said he does have his sights on something for the future – new legs.
"I keep putting them on my Christmas list," he said.
– By Nancy Remsen
Back to Korea: Airmen, F-16s Provide Security in Far East
About 240 airmen and six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 158th Fighter Wing were to wrap up a 30-day mission to South Korea early this month.
The mission to provide security for the American ally began after six months of training and more than 50 years since Vermont Air Guard pilots last served on the Korean peninsula.
"We're happy to carry on that heritage and deploy back to Korea for training missions," said Col. Dave Baczewski, the wing commander. "We're just very proud of everything we've accomplished."
The mission at Kunsan Air Base 150 miles south of Seoul was on the schedule long before the flare-ups between North Korea and South Korea over artillery shells fired by North Korea in November. The shells landed on an island that is part of South Korea and caused fatalities and prompted warnings of retaliation by South Korea.
The Vermonters are sharing a 60- day mission with members of the Alabama Air National Guard, which will work the final 30 days of the mission.
As the jets prepared for the mission, one airman shared her thoughts with WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vt.
"It's pretty awesome to hear that engine start up and you get them marshaled out of that spot," said Airman 1st Class Ziven Drake. "It's incredible, actually."
– By Jack Thurston
Second Civil Support Team Passes Realistic Evaluation
The National Guard's latest civil support team (CST) passed its first evaluation in December, bringing it one step closer to being Florida's second accredited team able to respond to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
The 48th Civil Support Team, based in Clearwater, Fla., was evaluated Dec. 16 by specialists from the U.S. Northern Command during an exercise at the Florida Army Guard aviation facility in Brooksville on Florida's west coast.
The team of 22 fulltime soldiers and airmen is designed to assist first responders during incidents involving chemical, biological or radiological threats.
Lt. Col. Joseph DeFee, the CST commander, said that the evaluation was his unit's first real chance to prove that it was ready for full accreditation by the Defense Department.
If the team is certified as fully mission capable, it would be the 57th CST in the nation and the second in Florida.
"Other than a real-world response, this is probably the most important exercise we'll have," DeFee said.
The scenario had enough realism to keep participants on their toes, he said.
In the scenario, a small airplane was seen flying over Brooksville dispersing liquid. After people under the flight path started getting sick, the police tracked the plane to a local airstrip. When the first responders found suspicious materials near the plane, they called in the 48th.
Using a military C-23 Sherpa to simulate the chemical-laden plane, the 48th scanned the area for chemical, biological and radiological agents. The team then took samples and tried to determine what toxins had been spread from the plane.
The 48th was created in February 2010, but not all team members are new to the civil support team concept. Three members, including the commander, came from its sister unit, the 44th CST based in northern Florida, and two came from CSTs in Arizona and New York. DeFee said it is important to have two civil support teams in Florida because it will cut response times to incidents and provide more people for missions.
– By Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa
NGB Chief Gets Firsthand Look At Guard's Border Assignment
The chief of the National Guard Bureau visited Guardsmen helping to secure the nation's border with Mexico near San Diego Dec. 14.
Gen. Craig R. McKinley, along with a handful of other key leaders from NGB and the California National Guard's Joint Forces Headquarters in Sacramento, Calif., came together to discuss the future of the operation, as well as to spend some time with the troops.
"It was a great experience. I never met a general face to face," said Spc. Christopher Eade, who works as an entry identification (EIT) soldier at a mobile radar truck in Point Loma, Calif. "It was great that he came out and he wanted to know what we were doing on the front lines instead of just staying back and talking about it. Now he's got a firsthand look at exactly the things that we are doing."
Eade was given a coin by McKinley, the first four-star general's coin he has received.
"I came out to California to meet with the adjutant general this morning, but more importantly to get out and meet with the soldiers and the airmen who are performing this very vital mission for our national security," McKinley said during his tour.
During his visit, McKinley also met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials, U.S. Coast Guard representatives and Joint Task Force Sierra leadership.
"We've seen a bunch of interagency partners today. It's great to see the collaboration," McKinley said. "This whole mission of assisting our law enforcement agencies is very important to the National Guard."
McKinley joined Col. William "Rudy" Arruda, the commander of Joint Task Force Sierra, the organization the California Guard stood up to perform its portion of the Guard's Southwest border mission, for an aerial tour of the border and manned EIT sites along land and coastal routes.
"It was just wonderful having the chief of the National Guard Bureau come out here and see the ground-based operation of what Joint Task Force Sierra is all about," Arruda said after the tour.
– By Staff Sgt. Jessica Inigo
Advising Afghan Forces Key To Nation's Future Stability
The Pennsylvania Army National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters Stability- Transition Team, also known as the Normandy Tactical Command Post (TAC), is making a difference in Afghanistan from Forward Operating Base Lightning.
The team advises Afghan security forces, particularly the 203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA). The Guard soldiers advise everyone from the commanding general to Afghan engineers.
Col. James F. Chisholm IV, the senior advisor at Normandy TAC, said he is building on the legacy left by members of the Indiana Stability Transition Team his unit replaced in October.
He noted the progress his predecessors made with the ANA and seeks to repeat their success as he partners with not only the ANA, but with the Afghan Uniformed Police and the Afghan Border Police.
Chisholm sees partnership with the AUP and the ABP as the key to a successful future.
He predicts Afghan security forces will eventually partner with each other, and the need for the International Security Assistance Force will diminish.
Chisholm said he is hopeful, but realistic about the difficulty of the road ahead.
"Afghan forces have the same issues integrating with each other that American forces do," he said. "We have to break down organizational stereotypes."
The ability of transition team members to work with Afghan security forces is by design. The team was built from the ground up by handpicking staff members for the Pennsylvania Guard unit.
– By Capt. Kenneth A. Stewart
Read the full article at https://www.nationalguardmagazine.com/article/State+Roundup/629172/60008/article.html.