HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Life is very fast paced for an aircrew member in the Air Force. Airmen must work quickly to all do their part in ensuring the mission is a success. These team members may be hesitant to reach out to a doctor at times, in fear of deterring critical operations. Regardless, it is important that Airmen are comfortable going to medical professionals to get the care they need.
For the 311th Fighter Squadron, medical personnel work ‘in-house,’ and are trusted to keep the aircrew physically capable of carrying out the Holloman mission; producing operationally-ready aircrew.
Capt. Bradly Brown, 311th FS flight surgeon, compared the care of fighter pilots to that of athletes because of the physical condition the pilots must remain in for their duties. Something as small as a common cold can stop pilots from completing mandatory flying hours, possibly stalling the graduation of a student pilot.
Although they are assigned to the 311th FS, the medical specialists are responsible for the care of all fliers.
Brown serves as the only flight doctor here, keeping all fliers healthy while maintaining an operational flying status for himself.
Tech. Sgt. Raquel Wilson, 311th FS independent duty medical technician, sees patients at the 49th Medical Group and ensures the health of the fighter squadrons’ personnel.
Wilson said working as an IDMT in the fighter squadrons, she gets a more hands-on experience with the aircrew. She can see what could cause health risks first hand, as opposed to seeing clients at the 49th MDG, where she may not be as familiar with the Airman’s work environment.
The medics in the fighter squadrons benefit from their close relationship with aircrew members, but balancing all the units they provide care to can be a challenge.
“The biggest thing for me is staying up to date on my calendar,” said Wilson. “Keeping track of the different schedules can be very challenging, and putting appointments on my calendar and setting reminders has been invaluable to me.”
These Airmen have a multitude of responsibilities, but aircrew know their medical expertise is always available.
“We see them on a daily basis,” said Capt. Danielle Park, 311th FS director of staff. “Capt. Brown even flies with us. Having that one-on-one interaction with them and being able to see them both very often makes it more comfortable than going to see a random doctor.”
This level of comfort is vital, and eases the mind of the team members who are accountable for the pilots’ health.
“It makes me feel good that they feel comfortable enough to trust me with any health issues, because it makes it a lot easier for me to do my job of ensuring the pilots are healthy enough for flight,” said Wilson.