Writer gets bird’s eye view of ‘Golden Medic’

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey S. Williams
  • Golden Medic Public Affairs
For the past two weeks, I've had the unique opportunity of attending the Golden Medic 2007 exercise at the Augusta Regional Airport in Georgia. Unlike most exercises throughout my career that I've previously attended, in which I was an active participant, this one gave me a bird's eye perspective as the lead writer for the exercise's public affairs staff.

Not having a medical background allowed me to view this exercise through 'fresh' eyes, although numerous deployments to Southwest Asia gave me some real-world experience to compare to. As a writer, I can only hope the medical education I obtained here was passed on to you in stories that were easy to understand.

Golden Medic 2007 was the closest I've seen to being back in the Air Expeditionary Force world. With scenarios based upon real-world experiences and mannequins that were cleverly disguised, anatomically correct and at the average weight of most Airmen, there were times that it almost looked too real.

The only things missing from it were the absences of security forces, a chaplain and an opposing force. There were no gunshots heard throughout the exercise areas, nor were there any rocket or mortar attacks. Other than that, it was as real as could be imagined.

Where most exercises in the military are designed to kill the enemy, this one is designed to train our medical Airmen how to improve upon their skills to save lives in combat. Whether it be initial triage and surgery at the expeditionary medical support squadron (EMEDS), transportation aboard UH-1 Huey helicopters, C-17 Globemasters and C-130 Hercules aircraft, or stabilization at the contingency aeromedical support facility, each participant pulled long hours, were total professionals and got the job done.

During the American Civil War, there were numerous cases where casualties were left on the battlefield for a matter of days or weeks. Thousands died due to the lack of proper medical care needed in a timely manner.

In today's combat environment, the wounded Soldiers, Airmen and Marines are evacuated almost immediately, creating a lower fatality rate than the Civil War, both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. Exercises like Golden Medic will only improve on expediting a high quality of care to our wounded warriors in the current combat environment.

My appreciation of those in the medical field took a huge leap this past week. The participants took on a hard job and made it look easy. Even in the simulated 'fog of war' they kept their heads and completed their tasks on-time and without complaint.

I applaud the Army and Air Force organizers for conducting a well-run training platform with lofty goals. I applaud even more those participants who achieved those goals and added to their skill sets. When they deploy, lives may be saved by the tough training at Golden Medic. That makes these past two weeks completely worthwhile.