Submitted by: Richard Childs

Category: Books

The Best Care in the Air, The Complete History of the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron

by TSgt Richard Childs and Col. Michael Germain

With the words “We’ll take one!”, then-Col. Leo Goodrich brought to the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard a new unit with a very specific mission - transporting injured personnel from one point to another via airlift. Decided virtually "on a whim," Goodrich set in motion the saga of the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Flight/Squadron.

Written in a distinctive style, each chapter is dedicated to a commander who led this incredible unit through the years. The chapters are further organized chronologically by years and then subdivided into months, narrating a comprehensive and colorful account of the unit from its initial organization in 1961 through 2017. Commanders’ notes, interviews, excerpts from wing and squadron newsletters, personal stories and letters from deployed squadron members capture the life of squadron members, both airmen and ground personnel, throughout this unit’s initial 60 years of existence. This history details how the squadron struggled in its early years just to survive, and in the process was often described as the unwelcome "stepchild" of the wing. Then, for its innovation and performance over the decades, especially in the first Gulf War, it became the pride of the wing, garnering national recognition in the Air Force and National Guard in the process.

The book concludes with several appendices which include a squadron patch history, a historical perspective on the evolvement of training flights and equipment, a list of all conflicts the unit members have been involved in, and a narrative of how retired members of this closely knit unit have maintained ties with one another over the years. In addition, a wide variety of photos are strategically placed throughout the text, enhancing this history with an important visual dimension.

This is a great read for anyone interested in a historical perspective of how everyday citizens transformed a fledgling medical unit into the best aeromedical evacuation squadron in the United States Air Force.

About the author:

Richard Childs and Michael Germain both served in the 109th and deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm.