The first Air Force high deck patient loading platform was designated operational April 9 at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. The new platform was used that day to transfer five patients to a KC-135 tanker for a flight to Ramstein AB, Germany. The HDPLP is a special purpose vehicle with an enclosed, lighted and climate-controlled cabin that is designed to move litter and ambulatory patients safely and comfortably on the ramp to waiting aircraft for transport to their next stage of medical care. It allows for easy access of high-deck aircraft such as KC-135s and KC-10s that the Air Force uses for aeromedical evacuation. “This new capability enhances the safety of ambulatory and litter patients giving them every possible means of a full recovery,” said Lt. Col. Robert Rocco, 455th Expeditionary Medical Support Squadron commander. The Bagram unit is one of three currently in the Air Force. (Bagram report by Capt. Toni Tones)
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.