Air Guard Team Receives Navy Medical Training
By Senior Master Sgt. Ken Stephens, 126th Medical Group
/ Published April 11, 2019
PORTSMOUTH, Va. --
A team representing two states, and three Air National Guard wings, has come together for a training opportunity with the U.S. Navy.
Members of the 126th Air Refueling Wing and the 183d Wing, both from the Illinois National Guard, and the 131st Bomb Wing, from the Missouri National Guard, are in Virginia for two weeks of instruction and practice with medical personnel at the Navy Medical Center Portsmouth.
The 126th Medical Group, the lead unit for the effort, has a history of joint force training according to its commander, Col. Pamela Fonti. In the past, the Guard unit has assisted Navy and Army medical facilities in Alaska, California, Japan and Italy.
“Not only does this expose our Airmen to how other services organize their medical missions, it also gives them a sense of that service’s culture,” Fonti said. “With the Defense Health Agency becoming the joint centerpiece of Military Health System reform, it’s important for our medics to be open to new ways to accomplish patient care, and be familiar with the similarities and differences between Air Force, Army, and Navy medicine.”
Not only is training with the other services beneficial to the National Guard medical groups, but training with each other also provides an advantage.
According to Fonti, the Air Force deploys a team put together from various units. A team may consist of health professionals from across the Air National Guard, one or two from different medical groups.
Training with other Air Guard units builds integration skills, a foundational component for working together to accomplish their mission.