Offutt Medics put their skills to the test


Medics from the 55th Medical Group got to put their skills to the test during an Air Force Medical Service Emergency Medical Technician Rodeo at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Aug. 24 – 27.


This was the first year the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth participated in the EMT Rodeo but they still managed to bring home second place.


The four-man team consisted of Team Leader Tech. Sgt. Lafe Hernandez, Senior Airman Brett Mckinney, Senior Airman Mehdi Naciri and Senior Airman Cody Conway.


“I found the biggest challenge was actually the training beforehand,” Hernandez said.  “Most of us work different schedules, one individual is preparing for a deployment and took some leave, and I was on leave for several weeks.”


The team’s training consisted of multiple weekly training sessions starting back in May, totaling up to around 40 hours of hands on training using various medical equipment.


“We wouldn't have come close to winning if it wasn't for Tech. Sgt. Hernandez,” McKinney.  “From coming in while on leave, helping lead the training, to being at the Rodeo as our team lead and using his experience as an Independent Duty Medical Technician, he really pulled the team together.”


The two-and-a-half day competition involved 24 EMT teams from across the Air Force.  Each team was scored on their proficiency in emergency scenarios from a low-threat and in a simulated deployed environment.


 “It was a fantastic training opportunity and a great chance to see how to handle more advanced scenarios, and to meet other medics in the Air Force,” McKinney said.


As part of the rodeo, the EMT teams were airlifted to the range in a CV-22 Osprey giving EMT’s an opportunity to experience Air Force combat capabilities.


“The rodeo was some of the best training I have received in the Air Force so far,” said Naciri. “It was a great experience to be able to get a glimpse of the Air Force Special Operations Command mission and being around everyone there has definitely motivated me to step up my own training.”


For the 2016 rodeo, there were 17 scenarios medics had to navigate and demonstrate their skills.


“As impressed as I was with all of the team members, I was extraordinarily impressed with Senior Airman McKinney,” Hernandez said. “He had committed to memory an incredible amount of information that assisted the team.”


“He also came up with an innovative method of having an occlusive dressing prepared for sucking chest wounds that cut the time to treat both an entrance and exit wound to only a few seconds, Hernandez added.


“I would say Senior Airman McKinney really shone during the competition,” Naciri said. “He was our go to for calling in medevacs which being able to call those in as quickly as he did really helped us place in the top three.”


Medics that participated in the rodeo earned about half of their annual requirements toward their national registry certification and EMT licensure.


“I am so proud of these Airmen that went down to not only compete but to test their skills and have fun,” said Senior Master Sgt. Todd Rankin, 55th Medical Operations Squadron superintendent.  “They performed beyond expectations.”