First Air Force’s 64th AEG continues to support deployment to civilian hospitals and care facilities

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Karen Roganov
  • CONR- 1AF

The 64th Air Expeditionary Group from First Air Force, Air Forces Northern, continues supporting the Air Force medical deployments to civilian hospitals and care facilities.

“I speak for the entire 64th AEG team when I say how proud and honored we are to serve with all our incredible Airmen medics.  Our Airmen are saving lives and making a significant contribution to underserved communities across the nation,” said Col. Anthony Figiera, 64th AEG commander, based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Since October last year, five people comprising the 64th AEG command element have supported 593 Airmen assigned to 31 Medical Response Teams (MRTs) at 26 hospitals across 19 states, said Figiera.

The 64th AEG is in support of U.S. Northern Command’s COVID-19 response activities as part of Defense Support of Civil Authorities. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing flexible Department of Defense support to the whole-of-government COVID response.

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, nearly 1,000 U.S. Air Force active duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard medics are serving in civilian hospitals, care facilities, and other public institutions.

While the nation is experiencing a decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitals and other facilities across the country are still reeling, according Figiera.

The 64th AEG provides what is called administrative control, or ADCON for all the active-duty Airmen assigned to the Joint Task Force Civil Support area of responsibility, which is the entire continental United States. This means the AEG handles the day-to-day coordination tasks so the military medical providers can better focus on their patients, according to Lt. Col. Kenneth Raszinski, 64th AEG deputy commander.

For instance, the AEG team coordinated with state Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers (EPLOs) who are deployed to various states, to ensure lodging and transportation needs were taken care of for the deployed active-duty medical Airmen. The three EPLOs now providing COVID-19 support are also assigned to First Air Force, Air Forces Northern. Over the duration of the vaccine/mitigation efforts, First Air Force fielded nearly 300 EPLOs.

Additionally, the 64th AEG processes emergency leave requests in the event of a military medical provider having to return home for their own family needs.

“We have also coordinated with local hospital staff to ensure Airmen are paired up with missions commensurate with their training and experience levels,” said Figiera. “We in essence help care for the caregivers so they can provide undistracted care to the patients.”

Currently, the 64th AEG supports 402 Airmen assigned to 22 Medical Response Teams at 16 hospitals across 10 States. “We estimate the MRTs assigned to the 64th AEG have treated more than 120,000 patients so far,” he said.

The current locations of the medical units are in Manchester, New York; West Covina, California; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Monroe, Louisiana; Syracuse, New York; New Haven, Connecticut; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Rochester, New York; Brockton, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut and Bangor, Maine. Teams in York, Pennsylvania; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Lewiston, Maine have or are completing their missions.

The behind-the-scenes work by the 64th AEG contributes to the efforts of the Air Force Medical Service, which has continued to contribute to the federal COVID-19 response, working alongside the other military services and federal agencies.

That overall Air Force response includes units assigned beyond the 64th AEG’s area of responsibility. The Air Force has upwards of 24 active duty and Reserve teams currently deployed across the country, made up of pulmonologists, trauma nurses, respiratory therapist and medical technicians. Civilian medical facilities and other institutions in 34 states are also receiving support from ANG medics.

Additionally, the 64th AEG keeps the commander of First Air Force, Air Forces Northern, Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, apprised of successes and any issues that need commander guidance and support.

“The 64th AEG has been in it for the long haul and performed exceptionally under the demands of a global pandemic,” said Pierce. “The nation has leaned on our Air Force medical experts for the last two years, and the support our First Air Force AEG provided has exceeded my expectations. Their steadfast contributions helped our fellow citizens to know that we will always be there for them in their time of need.”