Providing ‘Role 2 Forward’ medical support at RAAF Base Curtin

When it comes to the activation of a remote air field, providing health support to nearly 700 people becomes the responsibility of Combat Support Group’s Health Services Wing.

CAPTIONRAAF Medical technician Corporal Brett Leddy from 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron directs the transport of a patient into the back of a G-Wagon ambulance. Story by Flying Officer Connor Bellhouse. Photos by Leading Aircraftwoman Annika Smit.

Providing the same level of medical support as a small hospital, the ‘Role 2 Forward’ facility at RAAF Base Curtin for Exercise Talisman Sabre was deployed to provide specialised medical support.

Director of Clinical Services Wing Commander Duncan McAuley said the facility was capable of delivering a range of medical support including resuscitation and surgery operations.

“We’ve been deployed to Curtin for several weeks now providing both real-world health support and increasing our training through exercise scenario patients,” Wing Commander McAuley said during the exercise.

“While this is our smallest role 2 facility we can deploy, the services provided are comprehensive. We have a primary care tent, a resuscitation tent, a single operating theatre with a sterilisation compartment, a ward and radiography functions.”

CAPTIONRAAF members from 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron and specialist reservists from the Australian Army’s 2nd Health Brigade participate in a simulated medical emergency.

A key focus of this training has been rehearsing the provision of primary lifesaving care for casualties before they can be moved onward to established hospital facilities through aeromedical evacuation.

“The scenario patients are designed to be complex, including trauma injuries from explosion or shrapnel.” Wing Commander McAuley said.

“We’re designed to do damage-control surgery – think of that as life-saving surgery, stopping bleeding urgently and linking in with the aeromedical evacuation service as quickly as possible to get the patient to a higher level facility.”

Exercise Talisman Sabre brought a range of medical team members together in the deployed environment.

“Our team is a part mixture of Air Force and Army permanent members and reservists. Exercise Talisman Sabre allows us to practise drills so that the team can go from a group of individuals to a high-performance team,” Wing Commander McAuley said.

“We’ve come here to Curtin in an austere environment practising a slightly different medicine to what you would practise in a city hospital.

“We’re practising with the actual equipment we would need to use, with the environmental stresses of the heat and dust that replicate real-world situations. Overall the team has responded very well to the challenges and opportunities of being here at RAAF Base Curtin.”

CAPTIONRAAF medical technician Leading Aircraftwoman Yvonne Gordon 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron guides the medical team into the back of a C-27J Spartan during a simulated medical air evacuation.


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