Team Ramstein prides itself on building partnerships, learning from each other, and developing bonds that will last long after we have put away our uniforms and the next generation picks up theirs.
Recently, four doctors from the Bulgarian Military Medical Academy came to Ramstein to observe the process that brings wounded warriors from the battlefield to Ramstein for care and finally, the long trip back home.
“The Bulgarian familiarization event was a week-long comprehensive orientation which spanned the entire aeromedical evacuation process from A to Z and has been over a year in the making,” said Maj. Daniel Zablotsky, U.S. Air Forces in Europe surgeon general’s office international health specialist.
“The Bulgarians are currently at a crucial point in developing their own organic AE capability, so this event presents an ideal opportunity for both the U.S. and Bulgaria to conduct valuable information cross-flow and build the foundation for future interoperability.”
The familiarization event took the four doctors on a tour of the 86th Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, where the primary function is safe transport and staging of patients between aircraft and the next higher level of care.
After touring the CASF, the doctors were then given the opportunity to witness the Ramstein CASF team load patients onto a C-17 Globemaster “hospital in the sky” in preparation to take the patients back to the states.
The Bulgarian doctors also learned about the 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron’s mission, the process of setting up a plane to transport patients and the equipment used in the process.
At Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the Bulgarians toured facilities, including the air evacuation team, the deployed warrior medical management center and intensive care unit. But it was while visiting some fellow NATO coalition members from the Republic of Georgia in the 13 Delta Surgical Ward that gave the trip a more personal touch.
Lt. Col. Kamen Nenov, a doctor with Bulgarian Military Medical Academy who visited LRMC in 2009, and his fellow colleagues chatted with the injured Georgians.
“It was hard, because they are disabled and young,” he said.
On the last day of the tour, the Bulgarian contingent participated in an AE training flight aboard a C-130J Super Hercules, conducted by the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
As luck would have it, the co-pilot for their mission was none other than Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th Airlift Wing commander.
“These events allow us to build partnerships and friendships,” Hyde said. “They increase the partnering nation’s capability to act on their own without our assistance for a common cause.”
It was a historic day, as this was the first time Bulgarians were on a training flight with the 86th AES.
“The mission was absolutely successful,” Nenov said. “The staff is very well trained. Planes, equipment, everything works well together. These words are very important to me.”