On call for three weeks and without knowing details until the morning of a flight, RAAF and United States Air Force (USAF) personnel were put to the test during Exercise Mobility Guardian (MG19).

It included simulated scenarios and patient emergencies for aeromedical evacuation (AME) teams, made up of doctors, medics, specialists and nurses, who shared roles and responsibilities across different aircraft.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Newell, the USAF Air Force Interoperability Council Lead for Aerospace Medicine, said the exercise focused on the Five Eyes nations running patient operations, including medical facilities and AME handovers, as a joint mission.

“Essentially at MG19, we are training to be able to place AME equipment and crews from country X on country Y’s aircraft in order to operate effectively with minimal administrative or technical difficulty,” Lieutenant Colonel Newell said.

“This includes the authorisation to update the crew manifest, conduct pre-flight reporting and adhere to crew rest requirements.

“We are trying to identify gaps in data gathering and transfer systems, especially with respect to medication and dosage, and patient tracking and transport.”

Royal Australian Air Force and United States Air Force personnel carry out a mid-air simulated aeromedical evacuation scenario on board a USAF C-17 Globemaster III aircraft during Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019. Photo: Corporal Nicci Freeman

Flight Lieutenant Kimberley MacDonald, the Office in Command-Medical for MG19, said seamless integration was the goal.

“We have had the opportunity to fly on a number of different aircraft – both US and RAAF – over the course of the exercise simulating mass casualty events,” Flight Lieutenant MacDonald said.

“This has allowed us to test our equipment on a number of platforms and will better our practices when we go home.”

Mobility Guardian 19 was a scenario-based exercise with operations conducted in Washington State in the United States. It included airlift, airdrop, aerial refuelling, aeromedical evacuation, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief and contingency response training for several international air forces.