AMDF assures mission readiness
By Staff Sgt. Kevin Tomko , 927th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 04, 2007
SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Airmen line up against the hallway walls. Everyone is familiar with the routine. Some are reading while others are engaged in conversation-anything to help pass the time.
It's a Saturday Unit Training Assembly at the hospital. For the 927th Aerospace Medicine Flight members, it is a day where their training and skills will be put into action. For wing members, it is a day for immunizations, medical inquiries and physical completions.
Servicing these Airmen are the caregivers of the 927th Aerospace Medicine Flight, who can be seen ruffling through files, checking records, and scurrying through the catacombs of office spaces, partitions, and hallways of the 74-year-old hospital building. Their primary duty is to ensure wing members are medically qualified to deploy.
In addition to providing eleven different immunizations, the AMDF is responsible for a variety of other essential services including dental checkups, audiograms, and optometry.
"We currently serve 60-70 individuals on a UTA, giving physical exams and ensuring medical readiness for deployment," said Master Sgt. Perry Campau, non-commissioned officer in charge of aerospace medicine. "We don't respond to medical emergencies, we only do screening; however, if an emergency were to happen, we are equipped to respond until 911 arrives."
On UTA weekends, long lines may take shape for each of the services provided by the AMDF, but the process seems to run smoothly and efficiently. "The only time it gets stressful is when we are short technicians or if our equipment breaks down," said the sergeant.
Of the 44 members of AMDF, two are Air Reserve Technicians, the remainder are traditional reservists. "We have an interesting group as far as our reservists go," said Sgt. Campau, "some of them have regular jobs that differ from their jobs here. We have a police officer, a fireman, an insurance agent, and a postal carrier."
Training length for the AMDF's 19 Air Force Specialty Codes varies from five weeks, for a medical supply specialist, to 48 weeks for a medical laboratory specialist.
Sundays, on UTA weekends, are reserved for additional training purposes and follow up procedures from the day prior. In recent years, the AMDF has experienced an increase in duties as national threats have increased and there has been a significant increase in deployment medical requirements.
Deployment for AMDF members consists of augmenting other medical groups and may require the members to perform medical treatment or first aid.
"From Desert Storm on, the deployment requirements for Airmen have gone way up," said Senior Master Sgt. Gary Farnquist, senior ART, health services manager. "Before Desert Storm, we checked for a current physical and immunizations. We now check fourteen pre deployment requirements to ensure qualification.
While serving large numbers and providing increasing amounts of medical evaluations for Airmen on UTA weekends, other behind-the-scene duties must be performed as well--the paperwork; medical forms must be meticulously filled out and accurate.
Sergeant Farnquist recalled what had to be done prior to the most recent operational readiness inspection. "We spent the whole UTA weekend plus 15 hours. Four of us worked through the night," he said.
But for this group of dedicated caregivers, the biggest challenges may lay ahead according to Col. Glenn Passavant, group commander. "Because of what's happening with the 927th Base Realignment and Closure, we have to assure medical readiness of the entire wing by June, 2008, and yet fully participate in the planning and actions related to the move" he said. "In order to accomplish this, it's going to take some scheduling."