Pope Field, NC --
Medical emergencies, natural disasters, transporting wounded patients from the battlefield. Nurses and medical technicians rapidly deploying within 24 hours to move patients, sick or wounded, from disaster sites to adequate medical facilities by aircraft. That is the mission of aeromedical evacuation personnel, one of which, the 43d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, is inactivating at Pope Army Airfield with many personnel heading to Travis Air Force Base as part of the 60th AES, which was activated June 9.
The aeromedical evacuation squadron lineage at what is currently Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, dates back to the 1950s. Shortly after the first ever Air Force aeromedical evacuation group was activated in 1957, Pope received its first personnel. The units at Pope have deactivated and activated multiple times, each with a different name, yet the mission never changed: to transport sick or wounded patients to adequate medical facilities.
The 43d AES was activated in 1997 and called Pope home for over 20 years before several personnel transitioned to the 60th AES at Travis Air Force Base. The move provides more training opportunities on the KC-10 Extender, C-5 Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III based at Travis, as well as KC-135s based out of Fairchild.
However, the impact at Pope aeromedical evacuation personnel over the last 63 years is historic. They have answered the call numerous times, even redeploying within 24 hours of returning home. They supported natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. They continuously train to meet current medical standards, ensuring patients receive the best care possible.
Missions from Pope have spanned the globe, dating back to 1957 in the Dominican Republic and most recently in 2020 for the COVID-19 response.
Though the legacy at Pope ends, the many aeromedical evacuation personnel assigned to the unit over the last 63 years can proudly say they have been part of something great, something bigger than themselves.
Always the first!
(Visit here to view the 43d AES inactivation ceremony)