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NEWS | Oct. 18, 2017

AF medics deploy to Puerto Rico, aid hurricane relief efforts

By Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: This article is part of series highlighting Joint Base Langley-Eustis members’ contribution to humanitarian relief efforts from JBLE.

Approximately 100 members assigned to the 633rd Medical Group departed Joint Base Langley-Eustis to set up and operate a 25-bed Expeditionary Medical Support field hospital in support of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Oct. 15-17, 2017.

“This is a Defense Support to Civil Authorities mission,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Patricia Tate, 633rd MDG senior nurse. “We will be in support of the broad Federal Emergency Management Agency effort to support the Puerto Rican people during this crisis.”

The mission includes assisting the Puerto Rico Department of Health by temporarily establishing hospitals and clinics to alleviate overburdened hospital emergency departments in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

EMEDS medical support packages provide a tailored medical response; forward stabilization, resuscitative care, surgical and inpatient services, primary and dental care, and force health protection.

“We were notified Saturday and started loading our Airmen onto C-130s on Sunday,” said Tate. “This is exactly the type of operation that the EMEDS concept was designed for.”

The 633rd MDG team stands as the lead medical element and will command additional forces en route to Puerto Rico from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida and Nellis AFB, Nevada, as well as oversee equipment from Charleston AFB, South Carolina.