SAN ANTONIO - When a man or woman suffers severe burns in combat and needs specialized attention, it takes a special team to transport them to the Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center in San Antonio.
"There's no other team like it," Captain Sabas Salgado said. "We are the only burn flight team in the [Department of Defense] arsenal in all the militaries combined."
The Burn Flight Team is a five-person group that can transport a critically-burned patient no matter how near or far, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
"That can be anywhere in the world," Captain Salgado added. "'Anywhere, anytime' is our motto, and that's what we do."
Not only does the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Flight Team keep a person stable, but they do it thousands of feet in the air.
"When a plane takes off, everything starts shaking and moving," Sergeant AliceAnn Meyer explained. "You're taking off in a huge plane, but the patient is secure and taken care of. It's pretty awesome."
"It changes the game a lot," Sergeant Matthew Anselmo noted. "You can't hear anything, and we use headsets to communicate with each other. But all the alarms for the ventilators, monitors and IV pumps, you can't hear any of these. You have to constantly be watching the patient and monitors."
On one of the Burn Flight Team's landmark missions, a patient was flown from Singapore to San Antonio. The flight went more than 9,800 miles, the plane refueled in the air, and the patient was delivered safe and sound for treatment.
"The concept of time stops," Captain Salgado said. "You don't feel the hours go by. It doesn't seem that long because you're so focused on the patient. By the time the mission is done, you have the satisfaction that you made it home."
"It's a great feeling when you see the patient back here," Sergeant Anselmo said.
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