The 446th Airlift Wing’s 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron was announced June 6 as the Air Force Reserve Command’s Squadron of the Year, Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew Officer of the Year and Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew Senior NCO of the Year.
Commanded by Col. Cheryl Knight, the squadron exceeded aeromedical evacuation aircrew member training hour goal by 61 percent and authored a benchmark procedure evaluation process that standardized evaluations across all 18 aeromedical evacuation squadrons.
Supporting the community, the squadron organized and taught JROTC expeditionary first responder skills and supported a WomenFly Museum of Flight event in Seattle.
“Having AFRC recognize our aeromedical evacuation squadron as the best in the command is an accolade that speaks to the exceptional abilities and dedication of each member of the squadron,” said Col. Sean Pierce, 446th AW commander. “Through Colonel Knight’s leadership, they’re making game-changing improvements to the AE community.”
Major Benjamin Schultze, 446th AES flight nurse, was recognized as the Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew Officer of the Year; and Senior Master Sgt. Kristy Wellman, 446th AES technician, was recognized as Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew Senior NCO of the Year.
Yale graduate and acute care nurse practitioner, Schultze, who has a Ph.D. in nursing, is a Reserve Citizen Airman working full time as an assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University. As part of his Air Force Reserve duties, Schultze singlehandedly authored 40 hours of aeromedical evacuation curriculum and is one of 12 experts throughout the aeromedical evacuation community invited by the Air Mobility Command’s Surgeon General to research how simulators can improve training.
Serving as the squadron’s operations superintendent, Wellman helped improve interoperability with total force aeromedical evacuation squadrons and spearheaded enlisted force development initiatives. She coordinated the squadron’s Race for a Soldier/post-traumatic stress disorder memorial partnership advocating for healing and awareness. Advancing her education, she is pursuing a master of health administration degree.
The Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard support the bulk of aeromedical evacuation operations. The Air Force Reserve has 18 aeromedical evacuation squadrons, the Air National Guard has 10 and there are four active-duty squadrons.
Aeromedical evacuation works in concert with 1,900 combat ready Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 446th AW in support worldwide airlift operations and deployments.