Walter Reed National Medical Center Community
Patriot Warrior 2019: Obstacle Course
Story by SSgt Christopher Dyer on 08/24/2019
FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin A large bus carrying 20 Reserve Citizen Airmen and British Royal Air Force members participating in Patriot Warrior were under the impression they were headed to dinner on Aug. 20. 2019. That’s what Lt. Col. Stephen Mathis, the Observer Controller Trainer for Patriot Warrior, wanted them to believe.
Instead, the bus pulled up to an obstacle course where Lt. Col. Mathis jumped on board and let them know that there was an urgent mission that came up, and that they had been tasked to rescue injured fellow service members. “I didn’t expect it at all,” said Tech. Sgt. Walter Ware, medical technician with the 413th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, “We had to re-orient from what we’re planning to eat to what is the plan as far security, as far patient care, and a safe combat-like environment.”
Earlier that day the obstacle course was transformed into a simulated battlefield full of casualties, IEDs, overturned vehicle and insurgents. Additionally, they had to transport litters carrying a 180-pound mannequin that added to their stress. “We are here on this facility and we figured let’s take advantage of it,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Mathis, “Let’s let our Air Force guys have a chance to experience what the Army does.”
“Ultimately, it’s testing a few things, one is the ability to react quickly and utilize the skills as far as medicine-wise and making sure they do the self-aid buddy care,” said, Lt. Col. Stephen Mathis, “Then working together as a team with the skill they learned the whole week moving a patient from destination one and to destination two with urgency and safety.”
The obstacle course was just a small part of exercise Patriot Warrior. Patriot Warrior is Air Force Reserve Command’s premier exercise providing Airmen an opportunity to train with joint and international partners in airlift, aeromedical evacuation, and mobility support. The exercise builds on capabilities for the future fight, increasing the readiness, lethality and agility of the Air Force Reserve.
When the group arrived at the end of the course sweaty and covered in dirt, there wasn’t a frown among them. “Going through this course was definitely good for morale, it was fun,” said Tech. Sgt. Ware, “but that realistic part of it puts that stress on what we are coming here to do and we coming here to train.”