US Air Force advisors train Ghanaian Armed Forces in aeromedical evacuation for UN deployment


US Air Force airmen assigned to the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron recently trained six medical members with the Ghanaian Armed Forces on aeromedical evacuation in preparation for a United Nations deployment.

Throughout Africa, the United Nations is engaged in multiple peacekeeping operations and Ghana, one of 32 African countries that are part of the African Union, pledged to assist the UN in the assistance of transporting the sick and wounded to higher levels of care.

The aeromedical evacuation patient movement training focused primarily on the physiology of inflight patient care while also training Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) medical personnel on patient movement processes from point of injury to higher echelon of care and pre-mission training in crisis response, the US Air Force said on 29 March.

“This training has an enormous impact, not just to the GAF, but to the region as a whole as it will provide a sustainable AE [aeromedical evacuation] capability that is able to provide continued support to UN PKOs, or peacekeeping operations, and domestic mass casualty events should the situation arise,” said US Air Force Master Sgt. Arthur Tewasiliig, 818th MSAS air advisor.

The training equipped GAF to support current UN peacekeeping operations, and transform their Airbus C-295 and Mil Mi-17s aircraft into air ambulances. This training event was a collaborative effort between the 818th MSAS and all branches of the Ghanaian Armed Forces.

The program culminated with GAF members learning cargo documentation in advance of mission execution, as well as pallet build-up and loading on Airbus C-295 aircraft using newly acquired forklifts and the 463L pallet platform to deploy more rapidly and effectively, the US Air Force said.

“The largest impact this training may provide is that the 463L pallet system is universal with other partner nations like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and many others,” said US Air Force Technical Sergeant Sandre Lillington, 818th MSAS air advisor. “Now with Ghana being able to utilize this platform up to UN standards, it will give the opportunity to quickly cross load cargo from Ghanaian Airbus C-295s to any other partner nation’s aircraft.”

The previous method included loading and securing cargo manually inside of an aircraft. The second element to the cargo handling training was certifying six GAF members as instructors to ensure a self-sustainable training program which would lead to autonomous operations.

The new capability to load aircraft with 463L pallets and utilize forklifts expedited cargo upload and download times, giving more flexibility to generate more sorties in a shorter period of time.

The added knowledge and credibility that comes with being able to support the UN with their cargo needs, the GAF can be seen as not only capable of rapid cargo delivery, but also to teach these new capabilities and techniques to other African nations.

“Through expedited cargo handling, it could assist patient movement through the use of rapid deployment and reconfiguration of the C-295 for medical evacuation during engine running off-loads, as well as allowing the GAF to provide regional assistance during humanitarian and disaster relief efforts without the United States being present,” said Staff Sergeant Derrek Webb, 818th MSAS air advisor.

Ghanaian men and women have served as United Nations peacekeepers since the early 1970s, participating in operations that stretched from the Sinai to Africa. The West African Nations is now among the top ten contributors to UN peacekeeping, with nearly 3 000 personnel serving on nine missions.