Airmen compete for Team Pakistan

By on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Chanting, “Team Pakistan,” as they ascended the ramp to a KC-135R Stratotanker, four of the five-member Pakistan Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 aeromedical evacuation team were American Airman.

Upon discovery that Pakistan only had one flight surgeon to compete in the aeromedical evacuation competition, members of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Reserve unit stepped in.

Capt. Asif Jan was more than willing to accept his new teammates, who are usually assigned to the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Though Jan is a trained flight surgeon, he was unfamiliar with equipment configurations for the KC-135R and C-17 Globemaster III. This part of the Rodeo competition requires a five-person team, traditionally consisting of two nurses and three medical technicians who set up patient support equipment accurately and in a short amount of time.

The competition included the team configuring a patient support pallet, which is used during contingency operations to hold gurneys, said Master Sgt. Tim McClain, a KC-135R configuration competition umpire.

To prepare Jan, he trained in less than a week for more than eight hours with his teammates 2nd Lt. Kimmie Marin, a 446th AES flight nurse; Master Sgt. Selina Barone, a 446th AES charge medical technician; Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Wegehoft, a 446th AES medical technician; and Senior Airman Gabriel Itaya, a 446th AES medical technician.

“They were a great help,” Jan said. “They took the training very seriously, and they really took the time to teach me.”

His teammates noticed Jan’s dedication to training with the team. He was willing, and as a result he was a quick learner, Itaya said.

Though the team finished the medical static five minutes past the goal of 25 minutes, they remained enthusiastic and continued to cheer “Team Pakistan” as they emptied the McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., KC-135R of the patient equipment.

Jan saw the competition as a victory because the training will allow him to apply his knowledge of the KC-135R and C-17 patient configuration when he returns home. He said he is very grateful for the training the Airmen gave him because it’s something he can take back with him to Pakistan and help save lives.

The Airman who worked with Jan said it was an experience of which they were proud to be a part.

“This was a great opportunity,” Itaya said. “We also saw it as a training opportunity and a way to expand international relations.”

The team will learn the results of their efforts later in the week when Rodeo concludes July 29.

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