49th MDG boosts mission readiness in Ready Eagle exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Antonio Salfran
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

To enhance mission readiness, the 49th Medical Group participated in a Ready Eagle exercise at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, March 30, 2023.

Ready Eagle included a simulated explosion scenario where 160 medical personnel were challenged to provide immediate care for nearly two dozen injured patients played by volunteers from across the wing. The exercise aimed to sharpen the medical group’s response capabilities to a mass-casualty event with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and electromagnetic elements.

To maximize efficiency in a high-pressure scenario, the exercise had three phases, each with different objectives. First, the initial response teams were responsible for on-the-scene care for patients. Then, the team gauged who needed to be taken to the decontamination center. Finally, patients were transported to the medical group for further evaluation.

An active and registered federal government contractor that specializes in medical related practice, L2 Defense, facilitated the exercise in collaboration with the 49th MDG. Norma Grandberry, L2 Defense USAF Ready Eagle II instructor, and U.S. Air Force Capt. David Oh, 49th Medical Readiness Squadron flight commander, led the charge with both teams working together to curate a realistic and meaningful experience for Holloman medics.

“It’s all about validating the training we put them through,” said Grandberry. “We want to make sure they’re prepared to utilize this training if there’s ever a mass-casualty incident.”

Grandberry emphasized the importance of consistent training, to ensure that these operations and procedures eventually become second-nature. Additionally, incorporating all facets of the 49th MDG facilitates team building through the ranks which is essential for effective crisis response.

“Taking care of patients is the main priority,” she said. “But ultimately it's also about bringing each agency together and going through each scenario repetition after repetition. This helps us build a strong foundation of situational awareness and confidence for these Airmen.”

At Holloman one of the various mission sets is to lead and develop Airmen and the only way to progress is to practice. Base leaders and Airmen are constantly looking for ways to sharpen their skills, advancing total force development.

“Our facility is full of Airmen who are learning the fundamentals,” said Oh. “By providing these opportunities, we are allowing Airmen to make mistakes in a controlled environment so they can learn and be prepared for a real-world emergency where they may have to save a life.”