11 May 2008

New patient transporter operational at Bagram

An Air Force high deck patient loading platform aligns with a KC-135 Stratotanker to load patients to be flown to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center, Germany, here April 9. The new HDPLP, a special-purpose vehicle which limits the time a patient is exposed to outside elements, is one of three vehicles in the Air Force inventory. U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester.

Bagram Airmen operate new transporter

by Capt. Toni Tones, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/17/2008 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- The Air Force high deck patient loading platform was designated operational with the transfer of five patients during a KC-135 Stratotanker channel mission from Afghanistan to Germany April 9.

The HDPLP is a special-purpose vehicle with an enclosed lighted and climate-controlled cabin designed to access high deck platform airframes, such as KC-135, Civil Reserve Air Fleet B-767 and KC-10 Extender, for servicing and enplaning/deplaning patients. The platform has various configurations, but the most common is for mixed capacity which holds up to six litters and 10 ambulatory patients or staff.

There are only three of these vehicles in Air Force inventory; two at operational locations -- Bagram Air Base and Ramstein AB, Germany -- and one for testing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. ...

Anywhere from 125-150 patients are transported per month from the Craig Joint Theater Hospital here to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Facility in Germany via semiweekly medical evacuation missions. These patients require specialized medical care unavailable at the forward deployed locations. ...

The responsibility of getting the patients safely to the aircraft rests on the shoulders of 12 Airmen and Soldiers, assigned to the patient administration section, who operate and maintain the vehicle. The Soldiers, assigned from the 602nd Area Support Medical Company, serve anywhere from eight to 15-month tours, while Air Force members serve six to eight-month rotations.

Getting the vehicle here and operational required multiple agencies support -- Air Mobility Command , U.S. Air Forces Central, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, Task Force Lifeliner, and a three-person training team from 435th CASF.

More About Medical Evacuations to Germany.

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