Most junior U.S. Airman provides MEDCEUR 11 perspective

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nadine Y. Barclay
  • MEDCEUR 11 Public Affairs
Senior Airman Krystal Champ, 31st Medical Group medical technician from Aviano Air Base, Italy, is far from home but doing big things. Airman Champ traveled more than 1,200 miles to participate in the 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe.

As the most junior Airman participating in MEDCEUR 11, Airman Champ said she didn't know what to expect.

"I just figured it was going to be the same type of training we do at home station," the Meridian, Miss., native said. "There wasn't any special training that had to be done prior to coming here so I was totally unaware of what I would be doing."

However, Airman Champ anticipated the exercise to be a version of what Air Force medical personnel do while on station.

"I didn't know we had to care for simulated patients in a more realistic way," she said. "I got to see what it would be like to use equipment in an actually emergency situation."

During the hands-on training portion of MEDCEUR 11, she participated in various medical exercise scenarios that included treating and caring for moulaged patients.

"I think this will definitely help me in the future because the job I do on a regular basis doesn't often expose me to this type of training," Airman Champ said. "It actually helped me use and understand more about the things I already know."

In addition, Airman Champ not only received training with U.S. medical personnel but also exchanged medical information and experiences from Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and Norway participants.

An annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise, MEDCEUR is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment to U.S. and partner nations.

This exercise was designed to challenge the medics, said Lt. Col. Thomas Williford, 31st Medical Support Squadron commander. They were given realistic scenarios in which they have to perform without equipment, others in which they have to perform independently and some in which variables are thrown in to mimic the unknown.

"Airman Champ was extremely motivated," Colonel Williford said. "Even though her field knowledge was limited she was willing and ready to learn. She will be well trained to provide healthcare."

Airman Champ said this exercise helped her put things into perspective because it's not often that medics get this type of training.

"I had a blast," she said. "I leaned the capabilities of a medical technician would have in a deployed or humanitarian mission versus that of a peace time mission."