The US Air Force’s (USAF) 99th Medical Group, Department of Veterans Affairs and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps has completed Operation Foremost Endeavor, to improve medical readiness in situations of national emergency.

During the exercise, medics practiced airlifting ‘injured’ individuals from a simulated disaster zone and transported them to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The aim of Operation Foremost Endeavor was to improve medical readiness by giving soldiers, officials, observers, and media personnel the skills to handle a National Disaster Medical System hospital evacuation, aeromedical evacuation and patient reception.

USAF 99th Medical Group administrator Colonel Wade Adair said: “This exercise was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the National Disaster Medical System and how the different federal entities support one another and overall support our nation in the event of a tragic national emergency.”

"This exercise was a wonderful opportunity to showcase how the different federal entities support one another and support our nation in the event of a tragic national emergency."

Operation Foremost Endeavor simulated an earthquake scenario as seen in California, which causes many different injuries that military medics have to deal with. The exercise was a chance for participants to carry out emergency response plans, and develop new policies and procedures specific to earthquakes.

Several different USAF units participated in the exercise, including teams from Mississippi and Nevada. Veterans Affairs Medical Center North Las Vegas emergency preparedness coordinator Feliz Acevedo noted that the opportunity to work with the Department of Defense, federal agencies and the local community has helped to make everyone more prepared when facing a unpredictable natural or human-made disaster.

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For the Mississippi Air National Guard’s 172d Airlift Wing and 183th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, this was the first federal coordination exercise in which they had participated. The 172d Airlift Wing used a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to practice airlifting ‘injured’ patients to the Nellis Air Force Base.

In total, around 60 patients were sorted into different levels of simulated injuries, from minimal wounds to critical injuries that required more complex care. The exercise tested personnel from the 99th Medical Group and the Veterans Affairs on their speed and efficiency in transporting patients to the hospital.