FORT DRUM, N.Y – Maj. Tyler Smith of the Charlie Company, 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade hosted medical personnel from Samaritan Medical Center on, Jan. 26, where they were able to have an in-depth discussion on the medical evacuation, or medevac, capabilities offered here on and off post.
Medical personnel included the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Short, Medical Director of the Emergency Services Dr. Meja Gray and Chair of Emergency Medicine Sarah Delaney who were able to tour the facility, an HH-60M Black Hawk and a CH-47F Chinook.
The walk-through allowed each party to ask questions and make suggestions on how to better implement their services alongside their partners, LifeNet Health, who also serve the North Country when medevac services are necessary.
“It’s important to note that this is in conjunction with LifeNet,” said Smith. “We’re also providing the service to Soldiers and Family members of Fort Drum.”
This partnership between Samaritan, LifeNet and Fort Drum is vital to show that not only can services be provided here on the post, but they can also be called upon as an option when emergencies arise.
Staff Sgt. Casey Chandler, a flight medic who is also New York state certified as a paramedic, has been in position for over a year, also believes this relationship between Samaritan and Fort Drum is incredibly important.
“It’s hugely important for us to be able to help our community,” mentions Chandler. “help the North Country and be able to treat patients.”
By fostering these relationships, beginning with the walk-through, shows how prepared and well trained the Army medical personnel are when the mission arises. Not only with training but the 14 Black Hawks used for medevac operations outfitted with all-weather capabilities equipment. This means when the civilian helicopters cannot fly through the icy skies, Fort Drum personnel can, shared Smith.
“We are definitely prepared for that, we train for that constantly,” states Chandler. “To be able to perform in inclement weather conditions and perform any type of mission”
Gray, Delaney and Short were given the option to view the duty room, where flight personnel wait in receipt of the mission. They were then escorted to view and get inside of a Black Hawk while touring the available medical components to help patients and even view the inside of a Chinook, to showcase the option to move more than one evacuee at a time.
Not having an on-post hospital, where a lot of the mission would resemble patient transfers to facilities with higher level of care, means that being able to offer these services would be beneficial to the community and to our service members and their families, says Smith.
“This has given our emergency department physician leadership a chance to really understand what the capabilities are of the 10th CAB Medics,” said Short. “Give them a comfort level that when and if we need to call on them, that they’re in good hands and our physicians are comfortable with that.”
Having the 10th CAB MEDEVAC team showcase the capabilities to the physician leadership at Samaritan Medical Center is the steppingstone to building a strong partnership in the future.
“I hope it manifests in the nest time that there’s a service member, family member or DoD beneficiary that needs to be moved,” reflects Smith. “And all other resources have been exhausted that they think of us.”