Consultant’s Corner – Spring/Summer 2024

COL Nate Forrester, Aeromedical Evacuation Consultant to the Surgeon General

As our Corps maintains pace with the Army’s modernization and transformation efforts, your Aeromedical Evacuation officers are leading the way. Continued strategic competition with increasingly capable adversaries and significant technological advancements drive the need to modernize our evacuation enterprise, both air and ground. 67Js, serving at the forefront of medical evacuation, provided agile, adaptive leadership to ensure mission success while caring for people at home and abroad. Our enterprise made great strides in assessing the ground and air evacuation state of play, experimenting with new technologies, and moving modernization efforts forward. The results speak for themselves; I could not be prouder of the 67J team’s dedication to the mission and the character of your performance. Your selection rates for promotion, resident CGSC, SSC, CSL commands, broadening opportunities, and performance in every aspect of our mission is evidence of your success and professionalism.

We have worked diligently throughout the year to understand how changes in our operational environment will impact our people and mission, and have begun to craft an operational approach that reflects emerging strategic guidance and OE trends that will affect the Army and Joint Force.  We have solicited feedback from experienced leaders across our community, each of whom has offered unique assessments of how to best define, formulate, and disseminate a strategy that is feasible and relevant for the future.  As we continue to examine the impacts of Military Health System (MHS) reform, Multi-Domain Operations, Army Modernization Strategy and the Army People Strategy, I am incredibly optimistic about the future of Army Medicine and our Aeromedical Evacuation Officers across the Army. As Army Medicine modernizes, 67Js will provide the leadership to ensure the readiness required to support the Army’s mission to compete with and deter our adversaries and, if necessary, deploy, fight, and win our Nation’s wars across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the Joint Force. To this end, 67Js will continue synchronizing and integrating evacuation efforts, building readiness, leading medical evacuation modernization and reform, and strengthening alliances and partnerships.

We continue investing in our people through the Leader Lecture Series, hosted on MS Teams, covering various topics from Lessons Learned from the War in Ukraine, Aviation Incentive Pay, Career path for 67Js, LTHET, Secondary AOCs, Lessons Learned from Command, and more. This forum remains an excellent opportunity for 67Js to engage with subject matter experts across the Army and one another. We are seizing the opportunity to connect through updates from the Consultant Team, deliberate LPD presentations, or informal Q&A. Additionally, we have developed a LinkedIn page to enhance mentorships efforts. This page allows our leaders to post their biography and establish connections across the AOC.

Since the inception of the Long-Term Health Education and Training (LTHET) and strategic internship programs, the 67J community has prepared hundreds of MEDEVAC Officers for senior leadership positions and brought new perspectives to the federal healthcare industry. We have ten officers heading into, currently in, or coming out of LTHET. Many of these officers are achieving impressive accomplishments through the program, including obtaining advanced degrees and contributing to policy development and research at strategic levels. Their commitment to acquiring new skills and knowledge reflects the program’s effectiveness in fostering expertise and advancements in medical practices or policies, ensuring that medical units stay up-to-date with the latest technology and medical advancements. Additionally, our community has a longer than average ADSO, but we have learned that despite it, LTHET has proven to be an effective retention tool beyond that initial 10-year added obligation. However, utilization and timing of the LTHET program must be closely managed to meet key developmental milestones. Overall, it is a great program we intend to leverage to remain agile regardless of the environment.

Among cadets and junior MSC officers, requests to join the 67J team remain steady. This year, we assessed 25 high-performing 70Bs and cadets into the AOC; I am excited to see how these young leaders shape the future of our AOC and our Army. The 67J community continues to look for ways to increase recruiting and awareness of the career path with cadet command and Medical Service Corps senior leaders in the field. For those of you who lead junior officers interested in joining the MEDEVAC ranks, please do not hesitate to put them in direct contact with me!

Thank you for all the DUSTOFF Association does for our enterprise and maintaining the strong and proud legacy of excellence and care for the warfighter!

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