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Medical Treatment Facility enhances readiness with functional fitness and ATCs

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MARCOA Media
Story by Amn Natalie Rubenak on 09/05/2019
Children and their parents lined up in a crowded, dimly lit tent. The children ran out to play by an ambulance as their parents patiently waited to be called. One by one the line of patients diminished as medical professionals moved quickly and efficiently to bring about quality care in a challenged environment.

On August 17th, the 366th Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) assembled an Air Transportable Clinic (ATC) outside their building.

An ATC is a mobile tent that allows medics to treat Airmen in a deployed location.

The ATC will be set up for the remainder of the week while different teams come to treat Airmen and their families.

"Ultimately, it is very important that the first time the clinicians see the tent is not at a down range location," said Colonel Michelle Aastrom, 366th Fighter Wing surgeon general.

In order to enhance readiness, Airmen were given the opportunity to work within the tent and adapt to the environment before being deployed.

"This type of tent is something that is deployed next to a dirt strip that a C-130 Hercules can land on," said Maj. Eric Young, 366th Healthcare Operations Squadron education and training flight commander. "It's not a traditional facility."

Having this exposure allows the teams to recognize what challenges they may face when they are in the field.

"Through this event, and throughout the rest of the week, it is an opportunity for clinicians to come out of their regular workplace," Young said. "This exposure will help enhance readiness for our teams down range."

Medical Facilities here are also changing the way they train their personnel.

"To meet the MTF mission of ready, healthy gunfighters, we also need to make sure we have ready, healthy, gunfighter medics," said Tech. Sgt. Hattie McAviney, 366th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron flight inbase operational medical clinics flight chief.

Flight medicine has implemented "functional fitness" for their medics.

"This instills the fundamental skills of being a medic along with the physical fitness portion of it," McAviney said. "We did a night operation with all of our gear where we ran a half mile, picked up a patient on a litter, and then ran another mile."

In the middle of their night operation, the team stopped to complete six different exercises, and then continued on for another mile and a half.

Challenging themselves physically gave the medics a sense of what may be required in the field and allows them to meet the MTF mission of world class care anytime, anywhere.

"It was amazing to see the transformation of the team and how they worked through the challenges together," Col. Aastrom said.

The MTF is changing the way they view readiness for their Airmen. Whether it's an ATC exercise or prioritizing functionally fit medics, they make certain their crew is prepared mentally and physically to ensure mission success.

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