180FW Medical Group Concludes Joint Training at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brittni Capozzi
  • 180th Fighter Wing

Members from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, Medical Group, concluded training at Marine Corps Base Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan as part of Comprehensive Medical Readiness Program (CMRP) training and to assist the permanent party medical team assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa (USNHO), Japan, July 21, 2023. The U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, was a medical treatment facility (MTF) that provided the Medical Group Airmen the opportunity to experience and train on a wider scope than what is available at the 180FW in Toledo, Ohio.

The Airmen were able to complete necessary requirements in regards to the CMRP, performing far above expectations during this annual training.

While the primary goal of the Medical Facility Annual Training was to perform clinical training and complete necessary CMRP’s. There were other objectives such as providing assistance to the hospital by filling staffing gaps during a high Personal Change of Station (PCS) season, working with other military branches in a joint environment and experiencing the Japanese culture.

The 180FW Medical Group was able to come into the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa and provide assistance for the staff where needed. Working alongside the U.S. Navy, Marines and Army, the 36 180FW Airmen were able to demonstrate the capabilities and value the Air National Guard presents for the total force.

“The total force is important in the military these days. Although we all are a part of the military, we all speak different languages and have different goals,” said Col. Gary Easterly, 180FW Medical Group Commander, “It's always important, if you're going to learn and work together, to understand the other services, so we know how to get on the same page and produce for our country.”

Teamwork is something that is extremely valued. Having many new, and young, Airmen on this trip allowed them to get first-hand experiences working with other branches in a critical Area of Responsibility. These Airmen were able to see a bigger picture and understand the process and its moving parts.

“It was actually really great to see how well we all got along because they were all so nice to us, and willing to teach us,” said Senior Airmen Skyler Pachell, 180FW Aerospace Medical Technician.

Being located at a military hospital is important for the Airmen to train on medical treatments and services that they might not be able to do on a drill weekend at the 180FW. Working at the hospital allowed for Airmen to keep up and learn skills.

“There's so many things that we can do as medics that we're just not able to do a home station, that we were able to exercise in Japan,” said Pachell, “Airmen who worked in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit got to intubate patients, and that's not something you’d see on our side of the house.”

Another objective that was accomplished by this training was the ability to experience different cultures. It was important for the Airmen to understand that not everyone is going to think like you, speak like you or look like you, and to develop skills needed to accomplish the mission.

“The military is a worldwide organization, it's important that you understand the culture of the people, understand how they help people, what's good for other people,” said Easterly, “If you're going to be in the military, you're going to have to open your your mind and your eyes to those things.”

By the end of the five days of training, the Airmen provided assistance to staffing at 14 different work centers and two facilities on the island. During their time there the Medical Group Airmen worked a total of 2,412 clinical hours. There were 453 provider-patient encounters, 287 medical technician-patient encounters and 37 dental-patient encounters. Also, a total of 450 clinical hours were completed in the Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Room. The Administration team was able to digitize 1,930 documents into patient medical records and cleared a total of 920 patient referrals. The Admin team also coordinated an Air Evacuation transferring five patients to locations with higher levels of care or care not available in the Okinawa area.

The manning assist of the 180FW Medical Group brought in a total cost savings of approximately $45,100 for the USNHO.

Training at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan enforced the importance of what the Medical Group brings to the fight. The 180FW MDG is always mission focused and their success is achieved through the drive and passion of these critical Airmen ensuring the highest level of proficiency and readiness for worldwide deployment.

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