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Almanac

United States of America (Air Force)

Capital: Washington, D.C.Area: 9 . 826 . 675 km2Population: 3 . 222 . 626 . 226Official Language: English

Surgeon General
Dr Mark A. Ediger
Lieutenant General MC

Office of the Surgeon General
1780 Air Force Pentagon
Room 4E114
Washinton, D.C. 20330
USA

Basic Task of the Military Medical Service
The Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) exists to support the
Air Force mission and ensure every Airman is able to perform
their duties at war and in-garrison to the best of their physical,
psychological and emotional ability. Every medic has a
role in ensuring the Total Force is ready to “Fly, Fight and Win
in Air, Space and Cyberspace”. AFMS members are trained,
equipped and clinically current to provide commanders with
competent medical capabilities. Finally, the AFMS is responsible
for the health and care of two million beneficiaries providing
innovative services to meet the healthcare needs of
military members and their families.

The Nation has grown to expect “Trusted Care, Anywhere”.

Structure
Formed in 1949, the AFMS is the youngest of the United
States military’s medical establishments. Unlike its sister
services, the Air Force has no “medical command;” its
medics work directly for the line commanders. Although the
Office of the Surgeon General (SG) had no command authority,
it leads Air Force medics of all components – Regular Air
Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve – in support -
ing the mission of the United States Air Force. As a staff element
of Headquarters United States Air Force, the Surgeon
General’s Office does not operate facilities under its own
authority but assists the Major Command (MAJCOMs) in the
operation of their medical facilities. The AFMS, as a whole,
oversees 76 Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs), 6 limited
scope MTFs, and 4 MTFs in deployed locations.

The Office of the SG is built upon the directorate system with
each Director reporting directly to the SG. There are two
major Directorates, SG1/8 and SG3/5, made up of several
smaller divisions or branches. SG1/8 is responsible for Manpower,
Personnel, and Resourcing, while SG3/5 is respon -
sible for Medical Operations and Research. Also, the SG Office
receives support from SGE for executive support services, SGJ
for legal guidance and consultation, and SGL for public affairs
and legislative liaison functions. In addition, there are two
field operating agencies, the Air Force Medical Support Agency
and the Air Force Medical Operations Agency.

The AFMS also partners with its sister services to provide
10 shared services, including logistics, health information
technology, and education and training support through the
Defence Health Agency.

Air Force MTFs are aligned under the operational chain of
command within a Major Command (MAJCOM). A MAJCOM is
a major subdivision of the Air Force; assigned a major segment
of the USAF mission and is directly subordinate to
Headquarters, USAF. Within this construct, MAJCOM/SGs act
in an advisory and support capacity, with the medical group
commanders at each MTF reporting directly to their wing
commanders.

Number of Medical Service Personnel
Medical Corps Officers ................................................4 686
Dental Corps Officers ..................................................1 264
Other Officers ...........................................................10 161
Enlisted ....................................................................30 705
Total AC ....................................................................46 816
Contractors.................................................................4 171
Civilian .......................................................................7 866
Total NG/RC ..............................................................16 219
Total ........................................................................58 853

Research and Development
Cutting-edge research and continuous development programs
have been a hallmark of the AFMS since its inception.
The ongoing research in procedures, technology and equipment
ensures patients and warfighters benefit from the
latest and greatest advancements in medical technologies
and clinical practices. Most medical research in the Air Force
takes place at the 711th Human Performance Wing and the
59th Medical Wing.


The scope of research encompasses the identification,
demonstration and validation of new technologies designed
to enhance human performance, stabilize and transport
casualties, protect the force, restore health, prevent casualties,
and maintain a fit and healthy population. Influenced by
military and civilian medical science and technological de -
vel opments, operational requirements, military threat
assessments and national defence strategies, AFMS efforts
and priorities focus in four general research areas: Aero -
medical Evacuation and En Route Care; Human Performance
Optimization; Force Health Protection; and Expeditionary
and Operational Medicine.


Training
With over 13,000 members attending training each year, the
AFMS has established a variety of partnerships with sister
services and civilian universities, and operates a number of
stand-alone programs. Graduate medical education is conducted
at the Uniformed Service University of Health
Science, at military medical centres, and civilian universities
around the country. Flight medicine students attend classes
at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.
Medical enlisted training is conducted primarily at the Medical
Education and Training Campus. Readiness skills training
is conducted at the Air Force Medical Modelling and Simulation
Centre, the Medical Readiness Training Centre, and at
various civilian trauma centres around the U.S. In addition to
these programs, there is a wide range of other training and
education accomplished at medical facilities around the Air
Force.


Field Deployments
Air Force medics are engaged around the globe in contingency
and humanitarian activities. The foundation of the
AFMS contingency response is the Expeditionary Medical
Support – Health Response Team system. This flexible system
of building block-like components allows the Air Force to
tailor its response to meet any need during times of conflict
or disaster. It forms the core of deployed theatre hospitals in
Iraq and Afghanistan and has been used in response to natural
disasters around the world.

In addition, Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) is one of the core
missions of the AFMS. These operations have been accomplished
for decades with traditional AE and, in the last
20 years, with the addition of Critical Care Air Transport
Teams (CCATT). CCATT essentially turns an aircraft into a
flying intensive care unit, allowing for the transport of
critically injured patients. AE is accomplished on fixed-wing
aircraft. The Patient Support Pallet system allows any
transport aircraft to be reconfigured within minutes to
accommodate wounded personnel. With the recent addition
of Tactical Critical Care Evacuation Teams serving on
rotary-wing aircraft, the Air Force now provides medical care
from point-of-injury back to hospitals within the U.S.
Since September 2001, medical evacuation teams have
accomplished approximately 320,000 patient movements
worldwide.

Global Health Engagement is one of the means the Air Force
uses with partner nations to help achieve our security co -
operation goals, build partnerships through health related
activities, and assist them in developing strong healthcare
capabilities. The Air Force uses those health capabilities and
disciplines in Military-Military and Military-Civilian engagements
and activities to build stronger partner capacity, stability
operations, support Security Cooperation, and Humanitarian
Assistance and Disaster Response efforts, increase
interoperability and support of U.S. national security objectives.

Health engagement activities include training, mentoring,
planning, consultation, direct healthcare, and exercises in
conjunction with national and international partners.

Other Aspects
Patient Care

The AFMS cares for both active duty and retired military
members and their families. Using a two-fold approach,
medics not only provide care for ill and injured patients, but
also encourage healthy behavior. The AFMS strives to provide
patients with consistent and reliable care by ensuring
staff focus on patient safety first, as well as the use of evidence-
based practices in the provision of quality care across
the full-range of medical specialties.

With increasing rates of obesity and certain forms of preventable
chronic illnesses within the U.S. population, the AFMS
also encourages patients to be full partners in promoting
their health and performance by providing resources that
promotes both resiliencies to meet physical and emotional
challenges, as well as optimal human performance. On any
given day, medics see 25,000 patients, fill more than 60,000
prescriptions, conduct more than 26,000 laboratory procedures,
and conduct more than 6,000 dental encounters. The
AFMS ensures all Airmen are medically ready to answer the
nation’s call, develops ready medical Airmen, and provides
quality patient-centred health care.