CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The 27th Special Operations Medical Group hosted 19 Air Force medical technician teams from bases around the world for the 12th annual Medic Rodeo Sept. 17-20, 2019, at Cannon Air Force Base and Melrose Air Force Range.
The Medic Rodeo is a competition where teams of four perform multiple medical scenarios in home station and deployed environments. The scenarios simulate realistic medical emergencies and are designed to test the skills and knowledge of each team over a wide array of medical treatments.
“The Medic Rodeo is the pinnacle of Air Force medical readiness,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Miller, Air Force Surgeon General director of medical operations and research. “The competition between bases drives our Airmen to be the best they can be, and show true resiliency in the face of adversity.”
During the Rodeo, teams are split between MAFR and Cannon. The range is used to simulate deployed locations, while Cannon is utilized to give the teams the sensation of facing medical emergencies at a home base.
“The premier training opportunities available at Cannon AFB and Melrose Air Force Range give our medics the best real-world scenarios,” Miller said. “Our Airmen need to have skills that aren’t tested on a daily basis, and this event gives them the opportunity to successfully perform in a multitude of challenges.”
While Cannon and MAFR provide a wide array of environments for the medical teams, not everything can be done in these locations. To compensate for that, a virtual reality system has been introduced to provide even more diversity to the challenges the medics will face. The system is utilized as a training capability to create instructional tools for a diverse array of medical scenarios.
“The training available at the Rodeo is on the cutting edge of medical preparedness,” Miller said. “We utilize real-world scenarios that closely simulate deployed locations as well as virtual reality gear that can replicate stressful scenarios taking place anywhere in the world. It is an astounding step to keeping our Air Force relevant in the constantly evolving environment.”
Unlike other years, teams were made up of more than just emergency medical technicians for this rodeo. Dentists, pediatricians, mental health specialists and more faced the challenges of this year’s rodeo to test their capabilities as overall medical Airmen instead of focusing on their specialized career fields.
“Medical teams from around the world get a chance to practice, learn together and from each other,” Miller said. “They can then carry what they’ve learned back to their bases, to ensure our Airmen receive the best medical care possible.”
To determine the winner of the rodeo, teams are individually rated on their ability to adapt to the variety of scenarios they are put in, from casualty care under fire to handling an on-scene live birth. This year, the winning team was from Hurlburt Field, Florida.
“The effects of this Rodeo are going to be felt throughout the Air Force,” said Miller. “The training and experience the medics gain, the knowledge they share, it’s all going to integrate back into our operational force and change it for the better.”