CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Port Hueneme, Calif. --
California Air National Guard members from the 146th Airlift Wing’s (146 AW) Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (146 AES) participated in a two week training exercise known as Operation Agile Spirit 19 with the Georgian Air Force in Tbilisi Georgia, August 2, 2019.
Eight California Air National Guard members from 146 AES trained side by side with over 30 aeromedical evacuation students from the Georgian Air Force, as they demonstrated necessary logistics and procedures for aeromedical evacuation inside a C-130J aircraft.
Providing training on advanced cardiac life support, trauma, and combat casualties, the 146 AES provided over 80 hours of combined training curriculum as the Georgian Air Force transitioned from Georgian Air Force UH-1D helicopter to the California Air National Guard C-130J.
The exercise produced under the “State Partnership Program” lead by the U.S. National Guard, has been building relationships with 81 nations around the globe for over 21 years. Linking unique components from the National Guard with the armed forces equivalent of a partner country in an effort to build a mutually beneficial relationship between them.
Maj. Andrea Essig, a flight nurse with the 146 AES helped facilitate training during the exercise, believes the exercise is building mutual benefits for both militaries.
“Were able to take several of the Georgian military up in flight to show them a little bit of how we do air evacuation and save lives in the air.“ I’ve really enjoyed being able to partner with them for this exercise, they’re learning from us and we’re learning from them. It’s really great,” said Essig.
Essig adding, “It’s a spectacular opportunity.”
Maj. Patrick Pacheco, Director of Operation for the 146 AES, oversaw many of the courses during the two week long training.
“It was a giant exercise, we were training them in aeromedical evacuation tactics and procedures so they could better interoperate with U.S Forces,” Said Pacheco.
“They have to learn the background on aeromedical evacuations (AE) for us, learning our airframe and how it works best with their aircraft, along with learning how to fly as an AE crew with us,” said Pacheco.
According to Pacheco at the end of the successful two week exercise the students expressed interests in creating more opportunities to train side by side.
“They’re really excited to train and they want to do more training with us. They want to learn more basic life support, trauma, and combat casualty techniques,” said Pacheco.
The training which was initially assigned to the 165th Airlift Wing in Savanna Georgia, was later assigned to the 146 AES to better match aeromedical evacuation components to accomplish the training.