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AIRMEDEVAC – New Challenge for AFBiH

AIRMEDEVAC_2We all think that AIRMEDEVAC is something that is used for saving lives. AIRMEDEVAC, what does it really mean ?

The timely and efficient movement and en route care provided of injured persons from the place where there has been an accident to a hospital or to a location where specialized personnel can take care of them with suitable equipment.

This kind of transportation often uses the terms "Airlifted" or "LifeFlighted", although medevac is a common term used by civilians as well. AIRMEDEVAC is the best and the most rapid way for improving the chances of surviving a major trauma.

BiH has mountainous terrain and that means that evacuating casualties can often extend beyond what doctors call the "golden hour": that crucial 60 minutes during which a traumatically-injured person has to reach a hospital before their survival chances plummet. A good AIRMEDEVAC organization was one of the priorities which were taken into consideration in 2010 when a training plan for Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH) pilots and medical personnel was established. The training consists of four different topics: AIRMEDEVAC Organization, AIRMEDEVAC Medical Crew, AIRMEDEVAC Air Maintenance Crew and SAR (Search and Rescue) and the Air Crew & Maintenance. There is a long way for the AFBiH to reach all the requirements regarding AIRMEDEVAC and until now only the first topic was covered by a Mobile Training Team (MTT).

Since the implementation of MTT training, a Task Plan was developed for providing proper AIRMEDEVAC education to AFBiH, in particular to the BiH Air Force/Air Defense Brigade, in accordance with NATO standards. A Romanian MTT consisting of 2 officers, one Helicopter pilot and one military doctor, has been fulfilling their job for almost 8 months.

On 19th August 2011, Helicopter pilot Captain Gabriel Goaga provided his last training lesson in Banja Luka. What did he said about the training?

“Good opportunity for me, as well as for the students I had, to improve the skills in AIRMEDEVAC. There were some obstacles we had to pass together in order to reach higher standards of training, but with the common efforts both from AF BiH Joint Staff and EUFOR, we have managed to accomplish the goals we established from the first beginning”.

On 18th and 19th August 2011, Lt Col Jens Wittig from Operational Training Team and Major Marian Niculae from Training Planning Co-ordination Team attended this last training lesson. They visited the Air Force Squadron in Banja Luka and participated as CBTD representatives in a meeting with Major Sinfet Kasumovic from BiH Air Force / Air Defense BDE.  In order to set up a flexible and robust training plan this has to be taken into consideration for the future. The main points discussed, were the combined Field Training Exercise (FTX) which will take place in September 2011 to certify the students who have attended the courses, and the training calendar for 2012 for which a mentoring Romanian MTT has been offered.

We look forward to having both pilots and medical personnel from AF BiH to save lives, and to take part in Peace Support Operations (PSO) , NATO or EU operations and to see that they have all of the acknowledges needed for interoperability between the actors involved.