Over 40 aeromedical evacuation specialists from Delaware Air Guard deploy overseas and to U.S. bases to support Iraq and Afghanistan operations

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NEW CASTLE, Delaware – Forty-three Airmen from the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the Delaware Air National Guard are in the process of leaving in 11 separate departures from May 29 through early February to fulfill missions at two bases in Southwest Asia, one base in Germany, and two bases in the U.S. to transport and care for U.S. servicemembers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Twenty Airmen depart over the next two weeks. Late afternoon today five Airmen leave for Southwest Asia. Next week on Sept. 18 seven Airmen leave for Germany. The following week on Sept. 26 seven more Airmen leave for Southwest Asia and one Airman departs for Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Airmen typically depart aboard civilian aircraft chartered by the Department of Defense.

Each individual aeromedical evacuation mission lasts from 60 to 120-days, and supports Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. From June to December Airmen will operate from several bases in Southwest Asia, from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and from Travis AFB, Calif. Airmen supporting later missions in January and February will operate from Ramstein AB, and fly throughout the combat theater as needed.

The departing Airmen are flight nurses and flight medics (aeromedical evacuation technicians), most with extensive experience in the combat zones of Southwest Asia.

“Our Airmen will provide rapid military air transport of injured American servicemembers from the combat zone to established military treatment facilities in-theater or to Germany, and on to the U.S. as needed,” said Colonel Chuck Gebhart, commander of the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. “They are an essential part of the system to provide medical care for our troops who go into harm’s way.”

In Southwest Asia, an average of 120 wounded and injured servicemembers are transported each month. Aircrew fly regularly scheduled weekly missions to both Iraq and Afghanistan to either pick up patients or return servicemembers who have sufficiently recovered back to a forward location. In-theater, Airmen fly priority missions at least twice a week where they must report for duty within an hour after notification.

Airmen from the Delaware Air Guard’s 142d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron have been deploying overseas every year for eight years since October 2001, immediately after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

These aeromedical missions are in addition to the Delaware Air Guard flying missions begun late last month with aircrew and maintenance crews departing New Castle aboard unit C-130 aircraft.