On April 23, 2022, nearly 50 members from the 104th Fighter Wing Medical Group and 174th Attack Wing Medical Group traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to complete training requirements at Tripler Army Medical Center with the aid of transportation from the 145th Airlift Wing and careful preparation from leadership.
The 104MDG and 174MDG conducted their medical field annual training, which is a program focused on specific job training, readiness skills training, task completion, skill-level upgrade training, and unit-type-code sustainment training that cannot be accomplished at their home station facilities. This year, members had the opportunity to accomplish their training at TAMC, which is the only tertiary care hospital in the Pacific Rim.
A crew of Air National Guard members from the 145AW based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, managed the transportation of the Airmen to Hawaii in a C-17 Globemaster. Their involvement was not only critical in getting members of the 104FW and 174MDG to their training, but it also provided their pilots and crew the opportunity to meet their own training and readiness requirements.
Chief Master Sgt. Chester Bennett Jr, 104MDG Superintendent assisted with the planning for this mission, which took roughly eight months to prepare for. It required coordination with the 145AW and 174 MDG, as well as procuring 104FW funding and securing the military airlift to and from Honolulu.
“Preparation for this mission required significant cross-organizational collaboration and back and forth communication with the 145 AW, 174 MDG and TAMC,” Bennett said.
Among the flight crew was Airman 1st Class Ian Storm, a loadmaster with the 145AW, who was responsible for loading up the aircraft and accompanying members on the journey to ensure a safe flight. The training he receives during training flights is essential because it gives him real world experience to improve his readiness, he said.
“We get to do these longer flights around once a month and conduct flight training around 1-2 times a week, '' Storm said. “It is crucial to the Air Force mission because we get these Airmen where they need to be to knock out their training and in turn excel when it comes to difficult real-world situations.”
The C-17 was piloted by a crew of three pilots from the 145th AW, Capt. Barry Plemmons, 2nd Lt. Cody Smith, and Capt. Chris Leist. Plemmons, Smith, and Leist worked alongside each other as a team for the long 11-hour flight.
“We learn through each and every flight we make as each airfield offers a different and unique experience, '' said Plemmons. “The most important factor is managing and making sure our people have a safe flight and mitigating any risks along the way.”
Although the trip may not have happened had it not been for the joint effort and partnership between units, they weren’t the only players who made the training possible.
“Ultimately, none of this could have transpired without full backing from 104FW Leadership,” said Bennett. “They understood the relevance this training brings to our Wing from a medical readiness standpoint. The 104th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 104th Force Support Squadrons played a big part in getting us a military airlift along with everything that goes into mobilizing 50 personnel from both units. It truly was a wing effort,” he said.