Clinical Flight Medicine Commander Goes to Ghana

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Ornelas Jr.
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. - Capt. Sabrina Torres recently traveled to Ghana, West Africa, to teach lifesaving skills to allied partners during Exercise Flintlock.

"It was very rewarding to leave this group of people with the skills and the tools they need to save each other,” said Torres, the clinical medicine flight commander with the 71st Healthcare Operations Squadron at Vance. “We reinforced our African partners' knowledge so that they could take ownership of their own training in the future.”

Although Torres works in a medical unit at her home station at Vance Air Force Base, her role during Exercise Flintlock was different from her typical duties. She served as a Tactical Combat Casualty Care instructor.

Torres and her team faced several challenges during the exercise, the largest of which was overcoming multiple language barriers between the countries they were training.

“Denmark had to come translate for some countries because their language is based in Dutch,” said Torres. “There were also French-speaking countries that did not have a secondary language, so our team was going through two translators.”

Despite this challenge, Torres found the experience highly rewarding. “Everyone was very motivated to learn, and that was probably my favorite part, having a class full of people who want to learn the material that you are teaching.”

The training sessions included hands-on practice, allowing participants to apply their new skills in simulated combat scenarios. "Seeing their confidence grow with each exercise was incredibly fulfilling," Torres said.

Although Vance Air Force Base is a smaller installation in the heart of Oklahoma with the specific mission of training world-class pilots, temporary duty station opportunities like Torres experienced allow Airmen to expand their knowledge of broader Air Force missions.

Reflecting on her experience, Torres emphasized the importance of flexibility and cultural competency.