AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates (AFNS) -- The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing consists of four groups executing the warfighting mission. One of these groups, the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group, provides various medical care and services supporting more than 3,500 deployed personnel at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
To achieve success, they are focused on evolving as a high-reliability organization by embedding innovation and Continuous Process Improvement at every level. By strengthening host nation and coalition partnerships, they increase efficacy and maximize the extension of medical benefits to all through enabling and empowering Phantom Medics through deliberate professional leadership development.
“As an Expeditionary Medical Group, our mission is to support defense of the region and delivery of airpower by providing high-quality, highly reliable trusted care,” said Maj. Brandon Cochran, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group administrator. “Our aim is to optimize warfighter performance through proactive and adaptive medicine. The 380th EMDG is staffed and prepared to support urgent or emergency medical needs as well as support the flight medicine enterprise of the 380 AEW.”
There are three distinct flights executing the 380th EMDG mission. Each features a unique and tailored skillset focused on the delivery of trusted care to Al Dhafra AB.
The Aeromedical-Dental Flight consists of Dental, Public Health, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Flight Medicine, and Aerospace Medical Support. With a broad and diverse capability set, the AMDF flight provides limited comprehensive dental care, disease surveillance and trending, sanitation and hygiene education, inspection services and industrial shop training and surveillance. They also provide Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear response, air and water quality testing and radiation safety and noise dosimetry. Furthermore, they provide flight medicine and aerospace medical support by fatigue management, flyer care and emergency response, occupational health, and aeromedical evacuation support.
“I think that is the best reality,” said Master Sgt. Lolita Reels, 380th EMDG public health craftsman. “We get out there and see what different occupations are doing, what they’re studied for and how they’re applying it. As medical, I believe we get to see more than any other shop because we see the health perspective, and the job perspective along with the overall perspective of readiness and how it affects us.”
The Medical Operations Flight consists of Clinical Operations and Specialty Services. The Clinical Operations element provides routine and urgent warfighter care to include immunizations while the Specialty Services element provides both Mental Health and Physical Therapy services. MDOF is our point-of-care flight, 90 percent of patient interactions are accomplished by the Airmen of this flight. This flight also supports on base response missions; such as injury, fire emergency services, and Explosive Ordinance Disposal detonation support.
“My job is important by making sure that everyone is ready to perform their jobs at the best of their abilities,” said Senior Airman Stephanie Poe-Orange, 380th EMDG aerospace medical technician. “If I can help people every day then it’s a successful day to me”
The Medical Support Flight consists of Support Services and Ancillary Services. The Support Services element consists of Medical Administration, Medical Logistics and Biomedical Repair. Often behind the scenes, these Airmen facilitate TRICARE liaison services, off-base or network referral care management, claims payment, aeromedical evacuation coordination, medical information systems support, and unit travel and readiness services. They also provide medical supply and equipment repair, medical equipment maintenance, medical facility management, and management of medical War Reserve Material.
“You can’t fly without supply, so if we don’t receive, procure, or acquisition items the warfighters needs then the mission stops,” said Master Sgt. Camela LaCoste, 380th EMDG medical logistics noncommissioned officer in charge. “We have more than 650,000 items at the Medical Logistics Hospital, we’re proud of that and it’s at 100 percent accuracy. We can immediately grab items and ship them out or distribute them on the spot.”
The Ancillary Services element consists of Pharmacy, Radiology and Laboratory Services. This element provides highly specialized diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities that are critical in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury.
“At the end of the day, we support the warfighters,” added LaCoste. “We support the Wing, Groups and down-range members with lifesaving supplies, and I really like having a part in that process.”
Phantom Medics are engaged across the wing. Mental Health regularly participates in personal improvement seminars as part of the Al Dhafra AB Coalition for Awareness, Response and Empowerment team. Furthermore, the Public Health and Bioenvironmental Engineering sections provide key on-the-job training, sanitation and hygiene, confined space safety, hazard materials program and occupational health in their work areas to ensure maximum mission accomplishment with the minimum exposure to health risks for Airmen.
The 380th EMDG also regularly supports wing events such as the DANCON 25K March, EOD Detonations, Fire Emergency Response, military ceremonies and many others.
“Just as maintenance is necessary on all aircraft, and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and weapons system to produce maximum lethality, so is maintenance and care necessary to achieve optimal performance in the human weapons system,” said Cochran. “(Al Dhafra AB) needs every Airman and Soldier functioning at their best to adapt to the sheer volume and velocity of the mission in an ever-changing expeditionary environment. It’s our job, as Phantom Medics, to ensure they are physically and mentally prepared to meet this challenge."