Personnel from multiple nations conducted aeromedical missions during the Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) portion of exercise COPE NORTH 18 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Feb. 19, 2018.
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and USAF Reserve worked alongside Royal Australian Air Force and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) service members to increase interoperability and capacity of medical care during the aftermath of natural disasters and humanitarian crises in the Indo-Pacific region.
During the 5-day HA/DR training event, the three nations conducted approximately 12 aeromedical evacuation training missions and treated around 120 simulated patients.
“The greatest value of working with coalition forces during exercise COPE NORTH is that we learn how each other operate on aeromedical missions,” said Squadron Leader Matt Luther, Royal Australian Air Force military transport team flight nurse. “The patient and the care we provide remains the same, but the set-ups we do and the systems and equipment we use are different. It’s about understanding those nuances in providing aeromedical services because at the end of the day it’s still about taking care of the patient.”
The first day of the HA/DR response included a major earthquake and water contamination scenario, allowing participating nations to work together to prepare for and recover from the devastating effects of natural disasters.
“The experience of working with our allies has been amazing,” said Master Sgt. Tara Bryant, 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron technician. Some things they do mirror us and some things don’t, but the big picture remains the same. All of it has been a great learning experience and improves us all tremendously.”
Approximately 3,000 personnel and 100 aircraft are participating in COPE NORTH 18, including members of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force) and Royal Australian Air Force. COPE NORTH is an annual tri-lateral training exercise focused on improving combat readiness, developing synergistic HA/DR response and increasing interoperability between participants.
Staff Sgt. Corey Hook, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces