Arizona Air Force components collaborate Published Jan. 11, 2017 By Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr. 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. -- The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command joined forces during a Joint Medical Operational Training Initiative exercise. The bench mark event took place here, Jan 7, at the home of the 161st Air Refueling Wing. The 161 ARW provided a KC-135 aircraft and crew along with transportation equipment during the joint patient movement training exercise for the simulated scenarios. The 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron commanded by Col. Alfred Rossum provided the bulk of medical manpower with specific patient medical scenarios. Their primary mission is training Airmen to provide care, staging, and movement of patients worldwide. “It is never just one person or unit that bears the responsibility of making a mission successful,” said Capt. Chrystina Rutter, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron chief of medical readiness and exercise coordinator. “It’s the cooperation of multiple people and units working together. That was what we wanted to focus on.” The event marks the first time that an exercise like this has been conducted and the first time the Air National Guard and AF Reserve units in Arizona worked together on an exercise. Normally, exercises like this are conducted within component groups. “We’ve never had an experience so similar to what it will be in real life,” said Senior Airman Ashlynd Vaughn, 944 ASTS medical technician. “The ability to work with a real plane and do this exercise on an actual flight line helped take our training from a classroom to real world.” Together both wing’s worked toward an objective of strengthening relationships between components and effectively collaborated to support patients to and from airframes and during transportation. “This training was invaluable to those Airman preparing to deploy,” said Rossum. “The exercise gave both units an opportunity to experience Total Force Integration between the ANG and AFRC resulting in a greater appreciation of each other’s mission and the necessity for team work.” Both Wings leadership were excited about this unique opportunity and have already started looking at dates for next year to repeat this event. It seems that this is just the beginning of a long relationship between the two groups. “This joint patient movement training exercise was yet another great opportunity to showcase the total force partnership between the AF Reserve and the Air National Guard. It provided a realistic, hands-on training environment for both organizations’ personnel that will be very important to future federal and civil support missions of this type,” said Col. Hoyt Slocum 161 ARW vice commander. He noted that members from the 944 ASTS and 197th Air Refueling Squadron demonstrated great teamwork, expertise and learned a great deal about each other’s mission capabilities. He added that he believes this will be the first of many such future collaborations between the 944 FW and 161 ARW. Goldwater Air National Guard Base is attached to Sky Harbor International Airport in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Their primary mission is to organize, train, and equip units and individuals to meet worldwide requirements in support the Air Force’s Global Reach mission. The 944 ASTS is part of the 944 Fighter Wing commanded by Col. Kurt Gallegos located at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The mission of the 944th is to train and provide combat ready Airmen, anytime, anywhere. Airmen from the 944 ASTS are schedule to deploy later this summer and this training was in preparation for what their Airmen may encounter while overseas.