The Airborne Medical Technician
Airborne Medical Technicians at Det. 46 EARC, Suffolk County AFB, N.Y. in the early 1960’s. l-r, three unknown and SMSgt. Julian Bailey.
JIM BURNS PICTURE//CLICK TO ENLARGE
CHUCK SEVERNS PICTURE
Airborne Medical Technicians often find themselves in situations where they are the only emergency health care provider readily available and therefore must have knowledge of and be proficient in first aid procedures, to include shock management; emergency wound treatment; effective respiration maintenance (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation); hemorrhage control; management of fractures, burns, and injuries from chemical agents; hand and litter carrier methods; and loading and unloading aircraft and vehicles used for patient transportation.
Airborne Medical Technicians have performed as an integral part of the U.S. AIR FORCE helicopter family since the very early days of the use of the helicopters in the military.
Helicopter Air Rescue unit that do not have Pararescue specialist assigned often will have an Airborne Medical Technician as part of their alert crews, standing by to launch with the helicopter when the mission requires
Airborne Medical Technicians are the first responders who provide medical care and assistance to evacuated or injured individuals who are being transported or rescued by helicopter.
KOREAN WAR INTERNET PICTURE
Their knowledge starts with basic first aid but will extend through to areas including advanced cardiac life support, intubation and intravenous fluid therapy. It will involve using equipment such as defibrillators, suction units, leg splints, spinal board collars and stretchers. They train throughout their career to hone and improve their skills of care and life saving.
These individuals also perform normal Airborne Medical Technician duties at the base medical facilities including patient care and comfort and maintenance of medical supplies, equipment and records.
In civilian terms, the enlisted Airborne Medical Technician is the EMT, LPN’s, pharmacy techs, business office staff and other para-professional personnel.
The use of Medics associated with rescue helicopters has a early beginning. In 1946 the Army established the Emergency Rescue Squadron utilizing the R-6 helicopter which had its own medical staff. During the Korean War the normal crew of the H-5 was one pilot and a medic. The H-19 had a crew of one or two pilots and a medic. The use of medics, later Aeromedical Technicians, continued on through The Vietnam War and continues today with the helicopters assigned to Space Command performing rescue missions. After The Vietnam War Air Force helicopter units were assigned the Military Assistance to Safety in Traffic (M. A. S. T.) program providing emergency assistance to the civilian community. This program continues today and the Aeromedical Technician plays a vital part in this program.