HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The 66th Medical Squadron held a full-scale disaster response exercise here July 26 to 30 focused on medical readiness and preparedness.
The week-long exercise, Ready Eagle, tested personnel from across nine medical flights on their ability to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive event.
“Hanscom may be small, but we have to make sure we’re ready for any kind of threat,” said Maj. Stela Striligas, 66 MDS Pharmacy director and inspection team member for the exercise. “All our teams participated as if this were a real-world situation, making sure we have our skills in order.”
Ready Eagle is a force-wide exercise mandated by the Air Force Medical Service and facilitated by the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm. The program aims to maximize training for medics by progressing from classroom work to tabletop exercises before concluding with a capstone simulated event.
Throughout the training, Ready Eagle coordinators look for medics to achieve a number of objectives.
“Once we’ve trained the medics on their roles, we focus on integration of the training, response and communication, and the number of patients who receive care during those golden minutes of response,” said Chad Clara, Booz Allen Hamilton Ready Eagle coordinator.
The Hanscom Clinic’s capstone exercise included a mass prophylaxis CBRNE response. Fifty volunteers from installations around New England donned moulage injuries to authenticate the training.
“The actors and volunteers added such a sense of realism to the exercise and reminded us that our skills as medics can really be lifesaving,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Vasquez, 66 MDS Medical Logistics and Readiness Flight chief.
Medics lauded the exercise as a successful learning moment for Airmen of all ranks.
“This is probably the best training I’ve seen in my 18-year career,” said Striligas. “It was a great opportunity for young Airmen to improve their skills, or even see this done for the first time. Our teams looked good and they’re ready to go.”