Behind locked doors
By Steve Kotecki 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo. — The blast doors to Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station,... Behind locked doors
(U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki) PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Airmen of the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Medical Aid Station participate in a mass casualty exercise during button-up contingency triage training at the Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo., March 3, 2017. The training is designed to stress Cheyenne Mountain AFS medical responders, who are on call from Peterson Air Force Base Medical Clinic to simulate the stress that a future buttoned up mass casualty event could cause.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki)
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Airmen of the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Medical Aid Station participate in a mass casualty exercise during button-up contingency triage training at the Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo., March 3, 2017. The training is designed to stress Cheyenne Mountain AFS medical responders, who are on call from Peterson Air Force Base Medical Clinic to simulate the stress that a future buttoned up mass casualty event could cause.

By Steve Kotecki

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo. — The blast doors to Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado, are closed. Tech. Sgt. Lynor Hardy, Cheyenne Mountain AFS Medical Aid Station, independent medical technician, and the 21st Medical Dental Group button-up team are standing by. An alarm sounds and Hardy briefs her team. There’s been a simulated explosion in one of the battery bays followed by reports of several casualties on March 3, 2017.

Minutes after the explosion, six Airmen are brought into the makeshift triage center to have their wounds assessed. There are simulated burns, abrasions and severed arteries.

Instead of the chaos that one might expect, Hardy’s team gets to work saving lives, because in this instance, during a Cheyenne Mountain AFS contingency, they’re isolated from the rest of the world for an indefinite amount of time.

This is the kind of hands-on training Hardy likes to use for her staff. All of the acting victims are dressed up with moulage, a make-up kit similar to Hollywood special effects, to give the wounds a more realistic appearance.

“It’s important to try and make it a little more realistic, that way the stress of the training is amped up a little,” said Hardy.

This triage training, which is done quarterly, is designed to test the responses of the Cheyenne Mountain AFS button-up medical team in the event of a mass casualty situation inside Cheyenne Mountain AFS.

They have a limited staff and in the event that the blast doors close, Hardy’s team will be the only ones with medical training.

“It’s important to stress how cutoff we are inside here if the blast doors close,” said Steve Rose, 721st Mission Support Group deputy director, “coming up here when the doors are closed is basically the same as deploying across the world. We need everyone to be self-sustaining though an event.”

Acting as if they were deployed is what Hardy stresses during her long-term training exercise.

“A lot of the training we do supposes that we triage and treat the patient immediately, then get them to a hospital,” Hardy said “This training is designed to simulate if we were locked in here for more than several weeks, with no access to an outside medical facility.”

On top of physical wounds, the fact that they’re separate from the outside world means that emotional and mental wounds could become an issue, which is why the team also consists of a trained mental health professional.

“We really try to plan for all scenarios here, if the doors get locked, we might be on our own for a while,” said Hardy.

This is the training that ensure that if there are any medical emergencies inside Cheyenne Mountain AFS, all the members of the 21st Space Wing will be in good hands.

Staff Writer