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AFNORTH surgeon general team evaluates DSCA medical response capabilities

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sandra Nunes, 81st Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, in processes at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st Medical Group traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sandra Nunes, 81st Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, in processes at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st Medical Group traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

Airmen from the 81st Medical Group in process at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st MDG traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

Airmen from the 81st Medical Group in process at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st MDG traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

Airmen from the 81st Medical Group in process at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st MDG traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

Airmen from the 81st Medical Group in process at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st MDG traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Elsner, 81st Medical Operations Squadron respiratory therapy technician, in processes at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st Medical Group traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Elsner, 81st Medical Operations Squadron respiratory therapy technician, in processes at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 16, 2018. Ninety-nine Airmen from the 81st Medical Group traveled to Indiana to help set up a medical facility in support of Joint Task Force Civil Service. More than 3,200 Defense Department and civilian medical personnel are participating in the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Holly Mansfield)

Capt. Lee Laughridge, Air Forces Northern Medical Operations and Training chief, discusses the exercise scenario with Lt. Col. Jack Vilardi, 81st Medical Group operations officer, during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 17, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Capt. Lee Laughridge, Air Forces Northern Medical Operations and Training chief, discusses the exercise scenario with Lt. Col. Jack Vilardi, 81st Medical Group operations officer, during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 17, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Members of the 81st Medical Group put up a tent side during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 17, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Members of the 81st Medical Group put up a tent side during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 17, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Staff Sgt. Khaliha Love and Senior Airman Glen Snyder, from the 81st Medical Group medics, treat a simulated patient during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 17, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Staff Sgt. Khaliha Love and Senior Airman Glen Snyder, from the 81st Medical Group medics, treat a simulated patient during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 17, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Maj. Stacy Carr, 81st Medical Group nurse anesthetist, prepares a simulated patient for surgery during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 19, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Maj. Stacy Carr, 81st Medical Group nurse anesthetist, prepares a simulated patient for surgery during the Expeditionary Medical Support field confirmation exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, April 19, 2018. The confirmation exercise evaluated the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS operations during a domestic U.S. contingency such as a natural disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. --

Two members of Air Forces Northern’s Surgeon General’s office were watching months of their planning efforts unfold here during an Expeditionary Medical Support confirmation field exercise, April 16-21, as they evaluated the 81st Medical Group’s response to simulated tornado aftermath.

Capt. Lee Laughridge, AFNORTH Medical Operations and Training chief, and Jeff Brandenburg, AFNORTH medical plans and logistics chief, worked throughout the year with agencies across the Air Force Medical Services enterprise to plan the scenario that exercises the tactics, techniques and procedures of EMEDS during a contingency.

“We wanted to do an exercise to evaluate the status of current capabilities of the medical portion of AFNORTH’s defense support to civil authority’s mission,” Brandenburg said. “We’re looking at agency interoperability, logistics, communications and supply chain issues to identify both strengths and areas that may need attention.”

A team of 12 observers from different specialties in the medical community assisted Laughridge and Brandenburg with the contingency operations evaluation.

Laughridge and Brandenburg briefed Lt. Col. Jack Vilardi, 81st MDG operations officer, about the exercise scenario as exercise participants from the 81st MDG arrived at the Camp Atterbury site. The scenario included several EF5 tornadoes ripping a path of destruction in and around Indianapolis, producing grapefruit-sized hail, sleet, snow and heavy rain. Medical expertise was necessary to assist since local medical facilities were damaged or destroyed and the extent of injuries and fatalities were undetermined but thought to be possibly catastrophic.

More than 90 members from the 81st MDG went to work, building a full-up medical support facility from pre-positioned pallets of supplies on site. Local “patients” needing immediate medical attention began showing up on site just as they started. Medics responded and worked around medical group personnel continuing to build the facility. Patients were quickly evaluated and moved to an area where they could be made as comfortable as possible.

“We wanted to inject the sense of urgency into the environment,” Brandenburg said. “In a real-world contingency situation, the luxury of uninterrupted time to put together a medical facility simply doesn’t exist.”