Medical Group deploys to South Korea

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Joe Blubaugh
  • 190th ARW Public Affairs
The 190th Medical Group's Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS) disaster response mission has received a lot of attention with the deployments in support of Hurricane Katrina and the Greensburg tornado. However, wartime contingency operations are the main missions of most EMEDS in the Air Force. 

The 190th Medical Group recently deployed to Daegu, South Korea in support of the latter mission. The unit was tasked with setting up and inventorying one of the several prepositioned EMEDS placed throughout the country for combat contingencies, all of which must be set up and inventoried at least once a year. The Medical Group was requested by name by the Pacific Air Force (PACAF) at the suggestion of the National Guard Bureau. 

While there have been several ANG Medical Groups that have deployed for the same mission in the past, this deployment marked the first time a Medical Group and a Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility (CASF) have deployed together to support the PACAF mission. 

Members of the CASF from the 118th Airlift Wing from Nashville, Tennessee, deployed with the 190th. While in theatre, the 118th successfully set up and inventoried a contingency CASF as well. 

According to PACAF, both units performed outstandingly in accomplishing the mission. In a letter of appreciation to the Kansas and the Tennessee Adjutant Generals, Maj. Kenneth Burkett, Chief of Expeditionary Medical Ops Training and Exercises for the 13th Air Force, praised the professionalism of both units. 

"This exercise was executed without a hitch because of the extra 'hands-on' finesse of your teams coupled with their keen abilities as warrior-medics," said Burkett. "It is certainly no accident that the medics of the 190th MDG, and the 118th AES, were hand-selected from among a cast of ANG units based on a well earned reputation as 'top performers' capable of getting the job done." 

While the primary mission was set by PACAF, both units were given time to accomplish required readiness skills verification with the EMEDS and CASF equipment. 

"We had to be creative with our training at times," said Col. Janet Hanson, Commander of the Medical Group. "However, while the EMEDS was set up, we wanted to take the opportunity to complete the majority of our required annual training." 

Both units also took the opportunity to conduct a one day, mass casualty exercise together. "This was the first opportunity for many of our members to work this closely with a CASF," said Hanson. "The CASF plays an integral role in EMEDS operations during a combat situation."