Dragon Soldiers and ROKAF combine forces for base defense exercise
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea -- Soldiers with 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, were joined by a medical element from the Republic of Korea Air Force 10th Fighter Wing, during a Combined Base Defense Exercise held on Suwon Air Base, Feb. 18, 2016.
The 6-52 ADA is forward-stationed alongside the ROK Air Force on Suwon Air Base. The training focused on essential skills like responding to a mass casualty event and medical evacuation with a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.
"The ROK-US combined base defense exercise was intended to coordinate the efforts and capabilities of all personnel into a unified response against enemy activity that threaten the security and defense of Suwon Air Base," Maj. Emerito Tiotuico, operations office, 6-52 ADA said.
Capt. Hyun Yi, physician assistant, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6-52 ADA, evaluated his medics during the training event.
"Part of the training consisted of a mass-casualty event with eight patients where the medics had to respond to and treat their injuries. They then had to determine which patients needed to be medically evacuated," Yi said.
The MEDEVAC training was supported by a medical flight crew with 3rd General Support Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.
"In the past we have attempted to have the MEDEVAC helicopter on site but due to weather or other unforeseen issues, this is the first time my medics have actually been able to train with the bird," Yi said. "Most of my medics are right out of advanced individual training and have never trained on a bird so this is a very good opportunity for them."
A seasoned combat medic, Spc. Heather Holman with HHB, 6-52 ADA, participated in the training.
"My previous assignment was on an airfield so I have been able to do this kind of training many times," Holman said. "We all see our trucks every day but we don't get to see helicopters very often. I love training with the helicopter because it's something different."
The combined training was a new experience for the medics fresh out of AIT.
"The training was great and I was very happy to train with the ROK Air Force - they are very professional," Pfc. Jever Lopez, combat medic, HHB, 6-52 ADA said. "I learned things from them and they learned things from me. Overall, we learned how to load our patients into a UH-60 Blackhawk. We accomplished the mission and made sure the patients were safe."
Even with her combat medical experience in Afghanistan, Holman said this was her first opportunity to train with another country's military.
"Working the ROK airmen was awesome. The language barrier made it a little difficult but we had our translator with us," Holman said. "We got to train them how our equipment works because they don't have the same equipment as us."
Tiotuico summed up the day of training and the value added for the efforts spent.
"In today's training, personnel from 6-52 ADA and 10th FW ROKAF rehearsed our wartime force protection measures, lifesaving medical practices and reporting procedures, maintaining our combined readiness," he said.