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Saturday, February 18, 2012

DUSTOFF crews: "Nothing more noble..."

*cross posted from Assoluta Tranquillita*

From KXAN:

'Dustoff' crews featured in documentary

Filmmaker records troop rescues in Afghanistan

'Dustoff' crews featured in documentary:

H/T to my pal Mary for pointing me to this story. Go read the rest here.

It's no secret that I love our medics, and I am happy to see movies like this made so that the general public - us civilians, ya know - get some real understanding of what our DUSTOFF's do every single day.

There is an ongoing debate about our MedEvacs, and a lot of rhetoric is flying around (yes, pun intended) as a certain 'independent photographer/faux journalist/not a blogger/personal advisor to high ranking US military; - now add: worldwide expert on all things DUSTOFF' *cough cough* would have us all believe that if only the US Army would remove the Geneva Convention- mandated Red Crosses from the MedEvac choppers, not one wounded US Soldier would die in war. Without the Red Cross, if you follow along the illogical - uneducated, flat out wrong! - ramblings of previously mentioned supplier-of-books-as-door-stops to the White House, the MedEvacs would be so much faster, they'd probably be at the hot zone almost before the enemy wounded our Troops! Those Red Crosses must be really heavy, is all I'm saying here.

Yes, I am being absurd, but make no mistake, this whole 'debate' on Red Crosses on choppers, and to arm or not to arm them, is a matter of life and death, but not perhaps in the way some would have you believe.

I have written about our MedEvacs more than a few times, and shared various expert commentary on this whole issue. Today comes another clear explanation of the pros and cons of the latest crusade.

Time To End The Misguided MEDEVAC Arming Agenda

February 16 2012 — By Marcus

There is a huge push to arm Army MEDEVAC helicopters and remove the red crosses that identify them as such. The idea being that in arming the helicopters and removing the red crosses, these assets can get to our wounded much faster. The movement has even gained the attention of 17 (out of 535) Congressmen and forced both the Army and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to respond.

Photo by Spc. Austin Berner

The latest regurgitated story comes out of the Washington Post and I’d like to take a few moments to respond to this particular story since it incorporates many of the inaccuracies of the others.

But the rescue aircraft was unarmed, as are all Army medevacs. And the pre-dawn pickup zone in the Zhari district of Kandahar province was considered “hot,” or dangerous, meaning the medevac could not swoop in for the pickup until another chopper with firepower arrived to provide cover.

The reality of war is that troops are trained in lifesaving measures because, during combat, it won’t always be possible to extract the patient right away. Even if the MEDEVAC bird were armed, it wouldn’t have “swooped in for the pickup” until the LZ was cleared. The theory, I suppose, is that the armed MEDEVAC bird would seek out and destroy the enemy prior to landing and picking up its patients.

This, for those of us that have served in combat, is obviously nonsense. Once a theoretically armed MEDEVAC lands to extract patients, those guns are no longer a viable presence. Because they are door guns, the patients would very well be in the line of fire. So, now you have an armed MEDEVAC chopper sitting there, with less space to carry passengers and fewer resources to treat patients, gunners idle.

Even arming MEDEVAC birds, they can’t travel alone. They still need an escort. So, assuming all MEDEVAC birds are armed, now you’re using TWO of them to extract patients instead of one with another armed platform. This raises the risk that if another MEDEVAC bird is needed elsewhere, it won’t be available because it’s now providing cover for its own...

There is much more HERE, which is all a must read.

Other columns that educate:

The Difference between MedEvac & CasEvac: Video Update

Why are members of Congress listening to idiots like Mike Yon?

For the Record: Army statement on MEDEVAC issue

Is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs a Liar?

Fighting for a Life; Fighting to Bring Home Every Body He Could

That last column is based on things our friend SSG Brian Cowdrey told War On Terror News. Brian was determined that the public would understand what he did, how much pride he, and all DUSTOFFs, have in saving every life possible.

Be sure to go read all of these links (including the comments, where the debate continues.)