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Video: Hurricane Hunters Bring Training To Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-The 53rd Weather Squadron also known as the Hurricane Hunters and the 81st Medical Group Critical Care Air Transport Team teamed up for an aeromedical evacuation training mission Thursday. The Hurricane Hunters do more than just fly in the eye of storms….they also rescue our brave men and women from dangerous situations.

“For a normal training mission we would go out and fly over the Gulf of Mexico for a couple of hours and practice our weather procedures run our check list of what we do in a hurricane or Tropical Storm environment. Today we had the chance to get to work with active duty and guard assets as well in edition to our normal Air Force reserve areas,” says Major Philip Dobson.

It was an exercise to observe the close relationship between active, reserve and Mississippi Air National Guard elements during a training mission. Tech Sergeant Megan Clifton says one could not complete the task without the other.

“Two different entities but all working for the Air Force to move patients because without them there’s people that could not be moved and without us they couldn’t fly,” says Tech SGT. Megan Clifton.

Training missions like these are what gets these men and women ready for the real scenario.

“We always focus on training and everything changes everyday in the medical field and so we’re always up to par with any changes and we are like a flying hospital and so whatever plane they task us for we have to be ready to be on it and get this equipment on safely and efficiently. We transfer patients within 72 hours that’s when we try to get patients moved,” says Tech. SGT. Megan Clifton.

Gonitta Williams and George Kotti, members of the Critical Care Air Transport team has recently used their skills to help wounded soldiers in Afghanistan.

“It was an experience I’ve gone a few times out it was a great experience very good learning very good hands on training putting my skills to use so very rewarding,” says Gonitta Williams.

“I think both of us have been over seas Afghanistan and other places and it’s certainly an honor to be able to take care of these young guys that really make a pretty incredible sacrifice for us and being able to be one small part of their care along with training survival getting them home safely is just an honor to be able to do that,” says George Kotti.

Lieutenant Conoel, Craig Williams went from being a pilot to a patient earlier this year.

“I had some medical issues with basically blood clots in my lungs called a pulmonary embolism so today it’s kind of interesting to see the total force come together and do just what they did with me in the real world,” says Lt. Col. Craig Williams.

This was the first time the Hurricane Hunters and Medical Group from the Medical Group Critical Care Air Transport team has done a mission like this.