Stayin’ Alive: 934 CCATT bring lifesaving skills to exercise

  • Published
  • By A1C Colten Tessness

When service members need immediate medical attention in the middle of the most dangerous places on earth, they call none other than the Critical Care Air Transport Team.

This care team consists of three members, a critical care physician, a critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist. Each member brings their unique patient-care abilities to ensure proper medical care is given to patients in need.

“We are one of the few missions that when you are in garrison, you belong to a medical group that doesn’t necessarily understand what you do in deployment settings,” said Lt. Col. Mehdi Shelhamer, a 934th CCATT physician, individual mobilization augmentee. “Yet when you deploy you now belong to aeromedical evacuation who are very operations-oriented, but don’t necessarily function with you on a day-to-day basis.”

What makes CCATT so vital for the Air Force’s mission is its ability to efficiently keep Airmen in stable conditions in the air until they can get to the nearest hospital. This is safer and more efficient than having to transport service members by land.

The service members that work on this team already hold civilian positions that correlate with what they do in service. The Air Force takes these skills and then teaches them how to utilize that knowledge in different scenarios such as inside a C-130.

“I feel like this is the pinnacle of what I can do as a respiratory therapist,” said Master Sgt. David Pasko, a 934th CCATT respiratory therapist, when asked about his work with CCATT. “I work at a high-acuity hospital, a very busy place that is perfect for honing in on all of the skills that I need in order to take care of patients.”

Members of the 934th CCATT maintain high levels of readiness expertise to adapt to any obstacles they may face when in the field.

“We want people to know about us and come up and train with us,” said Lt. Col. Michael Mackovich, CCATT commander. “I feel blessed and privileged to be a part of [CCATT], and to be amongst a great team of individuals.”