• Tue. Nov 22nd, 2022

US Air Force 920th Rescue Wing develops on-board medical team

ByMadeleine J. Pierce

Oct 25, 2022

The US Air Force’s 920th Rescue Wing Aeromedical Squadron has developed a new integrated medical team, the Tactical Medical Augmentation Team (TMAT).

This small team is comprised of highly trained and adaptable medical personnel and can utilize the Wing’s Personnel Recovery Task Force (PRTF) presentation to advance higher levels of medical care to injured warriors and enable pararescuers and specialized teams to stay closer to the battlefield.

“This capability increases the overall effectiveness of the pararescue mission and serves as a force multiplier for combatant and medical commanders in future conflicts,” said Major Alexander Torres, officer in charge of the TMAT team. “It provides advanced medical care more advanced than previous abilities.”

TMAT can be formed into three compositions: light, medium and heavy packs. The total team size of a heavy team is six people: one doctor, two nurses, and three paramedics. An average team consists of four members: a doctor, a nurse and two paramedics. In the lightweight model, and for maximum adaptability, the team is made up of two members and can be any combination of doctor, nurse and/or paramedic depending on mission requirements.

The doctors on the team will be trained in emergency medicine, intensive care, anesthesia or trauma surgery. Nurses will be trained in emergencies or trauma with certifications in trauma and critical care. Paramedics will have advanced training and certification as flight paramedics, providing them with additional critical care and ventilator skills not seen in standard paramedic training.

The heavy team can provide extended field care for 72 hours, medium for 48 hours, and light for 24 hours. This provides support options when patients cannot be evacuated and need care until transport is an option or when geographic issues prevent immediate transport.

Modern medical assets

The team will be able to use the Wing’s rotor and fixed-wing salvage assets as a force multiplier, which is not dependent on transport outside the Wing. PTRFs can use both land and water resources such as the wing’s tactical search and recovery vehicles or inflatable boats. Wherever they can go to patients, not only can they provide care, but they can also have them transported on whatever asset the PRTF can provide.

“Many patient care teams don’t have dedicated platforms to evacuate patients,” said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Harmon, NCO in charge of TMAT. “Using the organic assets of the PRTF, TMAT is able to rapidly bring a higher level of care to patients, allowing the pararescue to continue to solve tactical problems.”

The 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron has developed a lightweight, adaptable equipment allowance and validated its functionality in various transport platforms.

The US Air Force spoke with AirMed&Rescue earlier this year about how Air Mobility Command ensures the urgent movement of casualties to and between medical treatment facilities.