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NEWS | Oct. 12, 2023

Oklahoma, North Carolina Air Guard Train on KC-46 Aircraft

By Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire, 137th Special Operations Wing

WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. - Members of the 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 156th AES completed initial certifications for operations on the KC-46A Pegasus Sept. 15-17.

A total of 25 Airmen participated in 35 aircraft and survival scenarios and 20 medical scenarios. They also provided care to simulated patients during three flyovers conducted by the 22d Air Refueling Wing aircraft to replicate real-world operations.

“Considering our potential future fight, it is critical for our aeromedical evacuation crewmembers to be as aircraft versatile as possible,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Lane, 137th AES commander. “The KC-46 will be critical to meeting Air Mobility Command’s vision for peer-to-peer conflict. Having our crews trained on this airframe makes us ready, trained and available to meet U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and other combatant commander needs.”

The AES Airmen must understand the systems for each aircraft they fly on, including aircraft configuration, emergency and egress procedures, electrical components, communication functions, and oxygen systems. They also need to know the different capabilities to respond to patient emergencies during flight.

Members of the 137th AES are certified on the KC-135 Stratotanker, the H and J models of the C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, and the C-21 in addition to the KC-46A. Lane said the KC-46A seemed to be designed with aeromedical evacuation in mind, making it easier for crews to focus on patient care.

“Air Mobility Command is preparing for the next fight, and aeromedical evacuation will be critical to ensuring mission success — familiarizing the Mobility Air Forces with our operations is important across the total force,” he said. “This mission was a great example of MAF total force integration with active-duty members from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, flying the KC-46 aircraft and including three AE crew members of our ANG sister unit from Charlotte, North Carolina, in our initial certification training.”

The AES Airmen accomplished over 400 training items, in addition to the successful proof of concept for launching local KC-46A training missions from the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base flightline. 

“We are charged to be experts in the aviation medicine environment,” Lane said. “With no aircraft assigned to the wing that we operate under, our aircrew training noncommissioned officer in charge communicates our needs to ANG, Air Force Reserve and active-duty units around the country to set up flights for training. It becomes an immediate win-win for both of us to train together toward a more cohesive wartime response.”



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