Selfridge MedTech Relishes Opportunity to Make a Difference

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
As a medical technician with the 127th Medical Group, Technical Sgt. Trish Myers states up front that she probably isn't the one who will save anyone's life.

"But if you need someone to take care of you, to listen to you, just give me a call," Myers said between training exercises in a giant tent set up to serve as a temporary hospital.

The 127 Medical Group, an element of the Michigan Air National Guard stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, is deployed for training at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in northern Michigan. Working with medical groups from eight Air National Guard wings in seven different states, Airmen in the Med Group are practicing emergency medical response, known as EMEDS. In this scenario, the medical groups are simulating how they would respond to a major earthquake centered in Lansing, Michigan's capital city.

"The National Guard has two roles," explained Master Sgt. Bob Wagster, one of the EMEDS instructors permanently assigned to Alpena. He helps to train somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 or more military medical personnel every year. "We have a role when we deploy as part of the federal military force, but we also have a role to respond to domestic disasters."

Part of the team training at this particular exercise is a contingent from the 188th Fighter Wing, based in Little Rock, one of two Arkansas units represented. The 188th deployed an EMEDS team in the wake of Hurricane Katrina several years ago, said Capt. Bridgette Scott, a medical service corps officer with the 188th.

"One of the highlights of this training is that there are so many different people here from different units," she said. "An exercise like this gets us all singing off the same sheet of music."

For the doctors, nurses and technicians, the EMEDS training helps refresh skills that they don't always use during a typical training weekend in the Guard, when the focus is more on medical readiness to deploy than on direct care.

Myers, who has been part of the 127th Medical Group since 1999, said she enjoys being able to work directly with patient care.

"We are like the jack of all trades in the medical unit," she said. "In a deployed location, there are so many thing that need to be done, you just have to ready to help out wherever you can."

During a 2008 deployment to a base in southwest Asia, Myers said she enjoyed talking with and getting to know some of the Wounded Warriors she helped to care for.

"The power to really make a positive impact on someone's life, that's what is so great about this job," she said. "You are in a position where you can really make a difference and that is something special."