By Tech Sgt Lynette Olivares, 133rd Airlift Wing
/ Published August 27, 2013
August 17th, 2013 -- The members of the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron experienced something unique during their August drill. The founding members of this squadron, which started over fifty years ago, met where it all started ... the Air National Guard Base in St. Paul, Minn.
During the founder's reunion, the current members of the 109th AES met with some of the original members of the squadron.
Even though it was years past, the relationships with the founding members seemed unchanged, said Tech. Sgt. Rose Vlaisavljevich, aeromedical evacuation technician. The relationship between nurses and med-technicians is a unique bond; you work simultaneously for patients and that develops a dynamic relationship, she added.
The significant and special piece about the nationally recognized 109th AES is that it originated in Minnesota in 1961. The original members needed to find supplies, training and qualified personnel, but persevered through tough times and the growing stages. The members worked hard and now the unit is recognized as a pioneer in many things related to the advancement in aeromedical evacuation.
Even Brig. Gen. Greg Haase, outgoing commander of the 133rd Airlift Wing, made remarks on how vital the mission of the squadron is. He talked about the high demands and deployments of the Aeromeds from Vietnam to the Global War on Terror after 9/11.
From in-theater to patient delivery back in the United States, there is one point we may have had a 'Minnesota touch' on every step of the way in evacuation of our wounded warriors, said Haase.
The weekend reunion ended with a dedication to Col. Maureen A. Hunt, former Strategic Air Command, Chief Nursing Services and former member of the squadron. She had the distinction of being an inventor and co-inventor of two aeromedical equipment items. These items were instrumental for improving inflight patient care.
Many of Hunts family, friends and associates filled the museum, as the unveiling of the Red Cross on the tail of Convair C-131 was displayed for the first time. The symbolism honors her and her lasting impact on the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
The ceremony was very touching and memorable, said Vlaisavljevich about the revealing of the Red Cross for Hunt.
For more information about the 109th AES or to get hours and information about the museum on the 133rd Airlift Wing, visit www.133aw.ang.af.mil.