Michael's Dispatches

Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?

159 Comments

19 August 2009
Helmand Province, Afghanistan

A gunshot ripped through the darkness and a young British soldier fell dying on FOB Jackson.  I was just nearby talking on the satellite phone and saw the commotion.  The soldier was taken to the medical tent and a helicopter lifted him to the excellent trauma center at Camp Bastion.  That he made it to Camp Bastion alive dramatically improved his chances.  But his life teetered and was in danger of slipping away.  Making matters worse, the British medical system back in the United Kingdom did not possess the specialized gear needed to save his life.  Americans had the right gear in Germany, and so the British soldier was put into the American system.

British officers in his unit, 2 Rifles, wanted to track their man every step of the way, and to ensure that his family was informed and supported in this time of high stress.  Yet having their soldier suddenly in the American system caused a temporary glitch in communications with folks in Germany.  The British leadership in Sangin could have worked through the glitch within some hours, but that would have been hours wasted, and they wanted to know the status of their soldier now.  So a British officer in Sangin – thinking creatively –asked if I knew any shortcuts to open communications.  The right people were only an email away: Soldiers Angels.  And so within about two minutes, these fingers typed an email with this subject heading: CALLING ALL ANGELS.

Soldiers’ Angels Shelle Michaels and MaryAnn Phillips moved into action.  Day by day British officers mentioned how Soldiers Angels were proving to be incredibly helpful.  The soldiers expressed deep and sincere appreciation.  Yet again, the Angels arrived during a time of need.

The severely wounded soldier, whose name I will not print without explicit permission, is recovering in the United Kingdom.

Two or three weeks after the injury, I was having dinner with a British Major and several Captains.  The Major talked reverently about Soldiers Angels, and then about a herculean effort that the United States military extended to save a single British soldier.  I had no idea about that effort.  I just heard the gunshot, saw the soldier carried away into the night, and heard the helicopter roar into the darkness.  I knew Soldiers’ Angels had intervened back in Germany, but the details that followed came as incredible surprise.  The U.S. military had quietly moved Heaven and Earth to save a single British “Squaddie.”

Please read the following description, authored in part by Soldiers’ Angel MaryAnn Phillips:


The Needs of the One...

In late July, a British Soldier deployed in Afghanistan sustained life-threatening wounds to the abdomen and chest. I alluded to him in this post, but his identity has not yet been made public.

The article quoted below describes the extraordinary (and to my knowledge unprecedented) efforts made to save his life. It is a testimony to the advancements made in the technological, logistical, and medical fields. But most of all, it is a testimony to the commitment of the many to care for the needs of the one.

Here is a summary of the medical, logistic, and air assets involved in this incredibly complex mission. It is almost certainly incomplete.

Aircraft:
- One C-17 aircraft to get the medical team and equipment from Germany in place at the hospital in Afghanistan.
- One C-130 aircraft to fly a pulmonologist from a different hospital in Afghanistan to the Soldiers’ location.
- A second C-17 aircraft to fly the patient from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
- LifeBird German civilian medevac helicopter to fly the patient from Ramstein Air Base to Regensburg University hospital.

Aircrews:
- Three C-17 aircrews; four sorties
- LifeBird helicopter aircrew

Medical Teams:
- British, Danish, US surgical team at the hospital in Afghanistan.
- A pulmonologist from a different hospital in Afghanistan flown to the facility where this Soldier was located.
- The Landstuhl Acute Lung Rescue Team (Specialized Critical Care Air Transport)
- The LifeBird medevac team in Germany
- The thoracic surgical and ICU teams at Regensburg University hospital in Germany, for the highly specialized treatment developed and available there.

Logistics Teams:
- Combined Air and Space Operations Center (SW Asia)
- Joint Patient Movement Requirements Center (within the CAOC above, SW Asia)
- Global Patient Movements Requirement Center (Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, USA)
- 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center (Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, USA)
- Landstuhl DWMMC (Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center)

A surgeon at work in an Afghanistan field hospital. At this hospital there is a general team of five surgeons, working with another three orthopaedic surgeons. With anaesthetists, emergency doctors and junior doctors, there could be 20 staff working on a single patient. Photo: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images.

Air Force aeromedical evacuation teams give British soldier fighting chance
by Capt. Justin Brockhoff

618th Tanker Airlift Control Center Public Affairs

8/4/2009 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Three Air Force aircraft along with multiple aircrew, aeromedical evacuation teams, and agencies from around the world gave a British soldier a fighting chance at life in late July after the soldier sustained multiple gunshot wounds and had his blood supply replaced more than 10 times at a military hospital in Afghanistan.

According to officials, the soldier sustained multiple wounds to the abdomen and chest, and was transfused with 75 units of blood and another 75 units of platelets.

Emergency surgery was conducted to repair the Soldiers’ liver and lung. After being stabilized by the medical teams on the ground, the patient's respiratory condition worsened and doctors determined that the patient had to be moved to upgraded care in Germany.

The Combined Air and Space Operations Center, staffed by U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Coalition partners. Built at a cost of $60 million, the project created the most advanced operations center in history. It includes thousands of computers, dozens of servers, racks of video equipment and display screens, over 67 miles of high-capacity and fiber optic cable, and hundreds of people, working in satellite communications, imagery analysis, network design, computer programming, radio systems, systems administration and many other fields.

Officials at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center and Joint Patient Movement Requirements Center at an air base in Southwest Asia, and the Global Patient Movements Requirement Center and 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., immediately started working to find the aircraft, aircrews and medical crews to airlift the soldier to further care.

"We received the call on our operations floor to airlift the British soldier from Afghanistan to Germany and immediately did what we could to make it happen," said Col. John Martins, the 618th TACC director of operations who led coordination efforts for the mission. "It was a complex move. Not only did we have to find a plane and crew to fly the patient out of theater, but also we had to find another plane and aircrew to get the right medical personnel and equipment into Afghanistan because we needed specialized medical teams to care for the patient in-flight."

In less than six hours, a C-17 Globemaster III previously scheduled to fly a cargo mission was airborne with the required medical personnel and equipment from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to Afghanistan.

"We were able to quickly identify a mission that was planned to fly into Afghanistan, and after coordinating with other agencies in the 618th TACC we were able to re-task the mission as an aeromedical evacuation flight," said Maj. Kris Rowe, an aeromedical flight manager. "At the same time, we needed a pulmonologist to be part of the AE team due to the trauma to the Soldiers’ lungs. Working with our counterparts at the CAOC, we were able to get the pulmonologist from a different location in Afghanistan to the Soldiers’ location on a pre-scheduled C-130 (Hercules) mission."

The pulmonologist arrived to the Soldiers’ location and continued to care for him on the ground, while the C-17 carrying the medical teams and specialized lung equipment were still en-route on the eight-hour flight from Germany.

Because of crew duty day restrictions, safety regulations that dictate how long an aircrew can be on-duty before they're required to rest, the original C-17 aircrew couldn't stay the six hours it would take the lung team to prepare the soldier on the ground, and still fly the mission back to Germany. Instead, once they arrived, the C-17 and its crew were able to wait on the ground for just over an hour while nine other patients, in addition to two amputees previously picked up during a fuel stop, were on-loaded for a flight to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, near Ramstein AB.

Once they had dropped off the medical crews and equipment to stabilize the British soldier, and its 11 new patients were prepped for flight, the first C-17 took off back for Germany. Its mission was complete.

A C-17 Globemaster III, like the one pictured here, aeromedically evacuated a British soldier in late July from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Before the soldier could be evacuated, an additional C-17 and a C-130 Hercules were needed to airlift specialized medical teams and equipment into place. U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Clay Lancaster.

Enter the second C-17 and aircrew, assigned to the 385th Air Expeditionary Group, who were also previously scheduled to fly a cargo mission in Afghanistan. Officials at the 618th TACC delivered a similar notification that they'd been re-tasked to be involved in the lifesaving effort.

"The patient was loaded on the second C-17 and airborne within 22 hours of receiving the call for support at the 618th TACC," said Master Sgt. Keyser Voigt, an aeromedical evacuation mission controller at the 618th TACC. "When you look at the requirements we had, its awe inspiring to see how many people will come together to save one life. It took two airplanes to get the medical team and equipment in place, another to fly the patient to Germany, three aircrews, four sorties, AE personnel and many more coordinating on the ground to get this done. Including the fact that we had to fly in specialized teams and equipment from eight-plus hours away and it took a minimum of six hours on the ground to prepare the patient using that specialized equipment, everyone involved did absolutely everything we could to give this soldier the care he deserves."

At approximately 1 p.m. local time Aug. 2, the British soldier landed safely at Ramstein AB and was flown to further medical care at a university hospital by helicopter.

"It's a true testament to the aircrews, the medical crews, and the ground personnel around the world and at the airfield that we could get this soldier out of Afghanistan so fast," said Lt. Col. Duncan Smith, the 618th TACC's Aeromedical Evacuation Division chief. "It is truly amazing to see this coordination take place in such a short amount of time, because we're literally coordinating these moves from a world away. We are in the business of saving lives, and we will do everything we can to reach that goal."

As of press time, the soldier was still at the university hospital in Germany, where he was listed in critical condition.

This movement marked the 8,563 patient movement by U.S. Air Force aeromedical evacuation teams in 2009, and the 135,233 since April 1, 2003.

(emphasis added)

As of today, almost 10 days after this story was written, the Soldier remains in Germany where his condition is stable. He may be able to fly home to the UK soon.

The doctors say it's a miracle.

I'd say it's probably close to a thousand miracles: A miracle for each of the many who came together to meet the needs of the one...

--
MaryAnn Phillips
Vice President, Warrior Medical Support Europe
Soldiers' Angels main web site: www.soldiersangels.org
Soldiers' Angels Germany blog: www.soldiersangelsgermany.org

 

*** New shipping address ***
MTD
Attn: Soldiers' Angels
CMR 402
APO AE 09180
*** New shipping address ***

 



Post Script from Michael Yon:

Soldiers’ Angel MaryAnn Phillips emailed to me:

“I thought you might be interested in this. Incredibly, [British Soldier] is actually beginning to do quite well. He has regained consciousness and may be able to be transported to the UK within the next week.

While at Regensburg hospital with his mom […] right after she arrived here, I told her about some of this. She broke down and couldn't believe "all of those people would do all that for my son". It was a very, very moving moment.

Take care of yourself, Michael.

mp


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    jona · 10 years ago
    While the US has a very special relationship with Great Britian, we would have done the same for any of our allies - that is just the way we operate at the tactical level - God Bless all who serve for freedom regardless of the uniform they wear!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JB · 10 years ago
    Michael, thanks for the report. As a serving British officer who was attached to the American military in Baghdad last year I know how much the US military values us. It was an honour to serve alongside my US brothers in arms and I am grateful for the efforts that went into saving the life of one British soldier. We stand together in adversity and long may this remain.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joe Seawright · 10 years ago
    I just posted this email to Mary Ann Phillips. I hope many of you will also let her know how we feel about them. They deserve all our thanks.....

    Dear Mary Ann,

    Today happens to be my 64th birthday, and I just finished reading Michael Yon's blog about the efforts of you, Shelle, and many, many more to help the British soldier wounded in Afghanistan. All I can say is what a special birthday present for me, to know that people like y'all (yeah, I'm from Mississippi) exist and that you do what you do. God bless you and Shelle, and all your team at Soldiers Angels. No words can ever express the gratitude of thousands of soldiers and their families, for your special kindness and dedication. You are indeed God's finest Angels.

    Joe Seawright
    Greenwood, MS
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MaryAnn · 10 years ago
    Michael, I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to use a little space to highlight an extraordinary group who were instrumental in this mission but not covered in detail in the AF article.

    The one key piece of specialized equipment needed for this particular patient is called the Novalung, which was developed by the University Clinic at Regensburg, Germany. The device is not yet approved for general civilian use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor I believe by similar regulators in the UK. In order to be used on military patients from those countries, permission from the Next of Kin must be obtained.

    Because Landstuhl Regional Army Medical Center is located in Germany, and because of the expertise gained through treatment of thousands of trauma cases over the past several years, a partnership has developed between US Military physicians and the Regensburg hospital.

    The Landstuhl Acute Lung Rescue Team – incorporating the use of the Novalung system – was established in 2005 by husband and wife team U.S. Air Force Col. Warren Dorlac and Lt. Col. Gina Dorlac, former Landstuhl doctors. Col. (Dr.) Dorlac is currently serving in Afghanistan. The current ALRT personnel are doctors, nurses and specialists who work in Landstuhl’s intensive care unit, and are now led by Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Raymond Fang and Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Patrick Allan.

    The team is not needed often, but when they are, they leave Landstuhl at a moment's notice to pick up patients requiring this very special treatment. A mission will last about 24 hours, during which they are constantly monitoring the patient's condition - whether remotely or during the return flight.

    I cannot think of any civilian equivalent. But to these military medical professionals, doing the monumental - the creation of this team and its technologies, and its implementation when required - is simply fulfilling the mission.

    Thank you for making sure their story was told - the story of another kind of "quiet professionals".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank W · 10 years ago
    A small word, but heartily said... Thanks.

    Ex British Army, served alongside US forces for over 2 years at HQ AFCENT way back in the early 90's, was impressed then with the close working relationship we had, so glad to see it hasn't changed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Darren Stewart · 10 years ago
    Dear Michael,

    And to all the men and women of the United States Armed forces, and supporting organisations and institutions.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for working so very hard to save a british tommie in peril.
    And thank you to the angels.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Adam · 10 years ago
    Awe inspiring Michael!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John squaddi · 10 years ago
    Places like Britain with its socialistic government doesn't have the resources or capability to achieve this. ...

    Absolute rubbish of an ignorant comment. Why do you have to spoil a good post with this spiteful drivel. Read up on the NHS military unit In Birmingham which saved my good mate's LIFE. There were many aspects and people involved in this exceotional case and there is no doubt at all that had this been the reverse the excat same herculean efforts would be made for US troops - as indeed they are with many US casualties going through the unit Michael mentions staffed by the British medical teams and paid for out of British taxes. This equipment is exceptional, as is this case. Exceptional is not unique to America or American healthcare by any means. These are the kind of comments that make me feel the reality is, outside of this exception and some of the comments here, no..Americans don't care.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    John,
    We have, unfortunately, too many ignorant twits such as forlourned who cannot accept this decent, compassionate act for what it is and feel compelled to make it into some worthless political statement.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mary · 10 years ago
    Michael,
    Thank you for sharing this incredible example of humankind working together to save a life. Please ignore the ignorant who would use such an example to belittle a healthcare system they do not understand. Praise for "John squaddi" for pointing out the inaccuracies of the criticism of the UK's technology and expertise to provide quality healthcare - that is NOT the point of telling this story, and it should not be politicized by anyone who has a beef with the healthcare debate.
    Thank you again for your dedication to telling the whole story.
    be well
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott E Wisbith, 19E · 10 years ago
    This is a true testament to the personal spirit that is held by the United States of America ( put politicians aside ). It is a Moral Standard that Her average God loving Citizens and all Her Soldiers most of all, hold closest to their hearts and try to live by.

    That when all is in chaos around you and an Ally has been struck down, you do not wait for them to raise their hand in need. You grab that hand from the dirt with a conviction of mind and carry them to safety at all costs without regard to your personal sacrifices and well being. Your only goal at that moment in time is to spirit that Ally away from chaos and give them the chance to live again in peace.

    There is no debt to be repaid here. This is simply 'The Right Thing To Do' if you live in a Moral Society.

    If roles were reversed, and they have been in the past many times, an Ally would do the same and expect nothing in return as well.

    I personally have nothing but the Utmost Admiration for my fellow Ally Soldiers in Arms ! God's Speed to this young man and to ALL my fellow Soldiers in Harms way.
    May God also Bless all their families.

    Maintaining the Moral high ground is not easy or cheap, unfortunately. But it has to be Maintained none the less.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Haupt · 10 years ago
    I have forwarded this article to my father with thanks.He was a director at Macdonald/Douglas that developed all the computer systems on the C17.Some in the AF referred to the planes as "trash haulers" With this they should now be rechristianed LIFE HAULERS.
    Thanks for your continued reporting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jay · 10 years ago
    It's great to see such sterling teamwork produce a happy outcome. My best wishes to 2 Rifles, Mike and everyone who worked to make it happen. Thank you.

    As an aside, american readers might be intruiged by this little bit of history. The 2 Rifles' ancestor regiment is the Royal American Regiment. A regular unit that was raised in colonial america in 1756. So it's strangely apt that Michael's piece here focuses on one of them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Medic · 10 years ago
    I was a Medic stationed at RAF Lakenheath, UK during the Vietman Era and I worked in teh Emergency Department. Yes, they are trained to do the job that you read about, but they are truly the best. I am so, so proud of being a Veteran of the USAF and a Medic to boot.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Uncle Jefe · 10 years ago
    Yet another story from the front, from this generation's Ernie Pyle (with photos to boot!!).
    John squaddi, many of us here in The States (and of course, serving overseas) have long appreciated what England and the Australian, New Zealanders and Canadians mean to freedom across the globe. Since WWI it's been clear, and from what I hear from those serving currently, our mutual respect has never been stronger.
    Just as in England you have those on the far-left who are anti-everything, we too have that faction, as well as a lot of folks ignorant of history and of the current danger to society.
    I don't think the commenter above was belittling England's committment; rather, it was a slap at internal American politics using a misplaced and uninformed argument.
    I'm proud of what ALL of our Troops are doing for our freedom, and the freedom of those who are oppressed by Islamic extremists, extremists who would have us all submit or die.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    wildhaggis · 10 years ago
    Americans , the most able, generous and gracious soldiers i have ever had the pleasure of serving with,I spent a week on exchange in camp bondsteel , kosovo in 2000 and its a memory i shall cherish
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob · 10 years ago
    A great story Mr. Yon. We, the U.S. of A; are glad to help a wounded British Soldier. We appericiate what these folks bring to the battle. We respect them for their deeds. We honor them for their losses.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dick Besser · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon,

    Your efforts are commendable. Many Americans admire your courage and determination. Many millions of us are also humbled and grateful for the service, the duty and the courage of all the allied military, no matter their country. Please extend my heartfelt thanks to all the warriors whoput themselves in harms way in order that liberty trumps chaos.

    Please extend my thanks and admiration for all the medical personnel, the doctors, the nurses and every person connected with them who struggle to save and repair our brave warriors.

    Dick Besser
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Zuendt · 10 years ago
    The title of my post sums up my feelings. May God Bless each and everyone of you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sgt B · 10 years ago
    With the exception of the unpleasantness circa 1775, and again in 1812 (and, even then, there was gallantry), there isn't a more stalwart ally when you're standing the line than Brits and ANZACs... When one of 'em gets hit, we bleed with 'em.
    Good on all the folks who saved that young lad's life and took care of his kin besides!

    Does America care about a British soldier? I'd say that the proof is in the pudding!

    "And St. David..."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Annette · 10 years ago
    "These are the kind of comments that make me feel the reality is, outside of this exception and some of the comments here, no..Americans don't care."

    It appears that you took one (politically driven) post and made a generalization about most Americans. I too find these post to be in poor taste, however, have no ability to make them go away. The citizens of our two countries are not so different. I am sure that there are British who would also take a heart warming story like this and twist it for their own political purpose. Should I take their comments as an indicator of the way all British think? I personally would not, but just saying. I tend to put more weight in all of the other commenters, some who have served alongside soldiers from our allies. Please don't minimize what they are saying by focusing on the negative.

    I hope this soldier is able to make a quick recover and return to his family. I am thankful that the technology and enormous teamwork existed to save this soldiers life. It really doesn't really matter to me about who did what.

    To answer Michael's question...without a doubt!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack E. Hammond · 10 years ago
    Folks,

    An incredible story which shocked even the British Army to the extent the US was willing to go to to save a British soldier.

    And while I am very glad the USAF did all this without even hesitating because it was not US soldier, it shows a glaring problem with the USAF. It is either the biggest and best and 100% solution in aircraft or nothing.

    Below is a small part from that article:

    Aircraft:
    - One C-17 aircraft to get the medical team and equipment from Germany in place at the hospital in Afghanistan.
    .
    - One C-130 aircraft to fly a pulmonologist from a different hospital in Afghanistan to the Soldiers’ location.
    .
    - A second C-17 aircraft to fly the patient from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
    .
    - LifeBird German civilian medevac helicopter to fly the patient from Ramstein Air Base to Regensburg University hospital.

    The first and third item. In the old days the USN and USAF had converted DC-8 medi-vac aircraft with even a small operating room in it. Now they have to use a C-17 whether it is one man lightly wounded or 15 men in critical condition. There is no in between. The USAF does not want to fund the in between that could do the job (and at higher transit speed most likely) because they want the funds for the C-17 (ie like the trap the USMC is in with the MV-22 tilt rotor now).

    The second item. They used a C-130 to fly one person inside Afghanistan. And probably at a slower speed that a good "large" business turbo prob could have done or even a small turbo prob tactical transport. One USAF who did not want his name used said in Iraq that he thought it was ridiculous to use a C-130 to fly one pallet of supplies that was less than 1/10 the standard load and range of the C-130 But that was the only choice.

    Finally, not to say the USAF did not do the right thing. It would have been right if they used five C-17s and two B-1 bombers. But just because you have over kill does not mean you should not look at alternatives with smaller aircraft.

    Jack E. Hammond

    .
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack E. Hammond · 10 years ago
    Folks,

    One member claims that the US had to move in to save that one British soldier because the British could not do it because they are socialists and lack that good old capitalist ability.

    As one member stated it is rubbish. The US could do it because it has such a large GDP. And a lot has to do with that large GDP because we have a lot of natural resources (coal, oil, iron ore, etc) and just a much larger nation and population.

    The UK government in fact went against an all European program to develop a large transport aircraft (the A400M) to lease then purchase some US made C-17s at great expense. See the same situation with the tanker contract. Boeing while taking the UK money for the C-17s in a free trade agreement use massive government influence to make sure that the USAF did not purchase a European aircraft (ie which the UK is partner in) to be the next tanker. In America our defense industry is one of the most socialists institutions on the earth.

    And always remember that the UK lost its massive Empire after WW2 due to the massive loss of men it took in WW2 and the refusal to make a deal with Hitler in 1940. If the UK had made a deal with Hitler -- ie instead of holding out alone for a year and a half -- it would not have lost its Empire which created a massive trade and a massive GDP.

    And then after WW2 when most nations were disbanding their military, the British at great expense kept their large navy and army to hold the fort in Europe while the nations that did not come under Stalin's thumb could rebuild under US and UK protection.

    And last, for almost three decades the UK British Royal Navy held the fort down in the Indian Ocean, East of Suez. And that cost a lot of money.

    Jack E. Hammond

    PS> GAWD! I wonder sometimes how the citizens of the UK and Canada put up with us Americans. (For further research look at the percentage of Canadians per population that died in WW1 and WW2.)

    .
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Florence · 10 years ago
    They sure as hell do! Firstly, what an inspiring and moving article - well done for sharing it with us. Not only do our American Allies fight alongside us for the same cause, they care for us back in the U.S. too. My son Andy is serving with 2 Rifles (British Army) in Sangin, Helmand Province. He has just been sent a care package and some gear from an email friend of mine (Douglas Vanderberg) who is the U.S. Navy. I have not even met Douglas in person and nor has my son, yet he is prepared to do this for us. The Americans are the most generous people I have ever encountered. They looked after my son when he was in the Texas and Louisiana last year and he says the same thing too. God bless America - our closest Allies.

    Best regards,

    Michael Florence (ex-Leading Seaman Diver, Royal Navy - That's the British Navy!)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joanna · 10 years ago
    Why has this amazing story not reached the wider press, it should do. Thank you.
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    Ex army medic · 10 years ago
    Having served in the British Army for 7 years and also having realatives in the American Army I can honsetly say the two countries are all fighting as one. Some people may disagree with the war, that is thier choice. The one they they all should agree with it the fact that injured soliders or the families of those who have not been fortunate to come home alive need everyones support. The should be praised for what they are doing for thier country and not criticised.
    The sheer cost behind this operation to save one soldiers life was it worth it? Only answer to that is yes. He was prepared to die for his country which is the ultimate price so the price to save his life should be greater. We owe it to all our armed forces
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Noel Herbert · 10 years ago
    What a great report i am so grateful to America for this effort my son is detatched to the 2nd Rifles in Sangin Helmand Province and was wounded last night i was releved to hear how good the medics are out the god bless you for this Noel Herbert
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Solo · 10 years ago
    Thanks to every single member of the Coalition.
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    p · 10 years ago
    Truly amazing story.

    For the people who think this is proof that socialized healthcare doesn't work, I'd say this shows that government and health care DO work together well. A private health insurance company would have seen the multi-million dollar bill for this treatment and told the guy to take a hike.

    You think all those amazing medical devices this soldier needed were created on the free market? Hell no. Most were invented by researchers working with university, NIH or Army money. The actual care was then provided by the federal gov't, not some private health insurer.

    I don't understand why people can't believe the government is capable of amazing things when everyone agrees to work together. The United States Armed Forces is proof of that.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    elizzar · 10 years ago
    As a Brit i'm sure all the allies out in Afghanistan do amazing things to help each other every day, but this does seem a particularly supreme effort. From reading around this report and the comments above, it would seem that neither the Us nor the UK had the particular equipment or procedural training to treat the wounded soldier, which was only available in Germany (a country, along with France, that some people slag off quite regularly for their contributions to the Afghan war). It was of course the efforts of the USAF that got the soldier to where he could be treated (thanks!) - it makes you think when two C-17s are used (amongst others) - the UK as a whole only has six of these aircraft!
    It's a shame when someone tries to hijack what is, after all, a warming human interest story, to try to make cheap political points about 'socialised' health care (shouldn't a true society have the means to care for everyone in that society?) but I think everyone can see how silly that poster is.
    I just wish the powers-that-be here in the UK would finally admit that we really are at war, and have been for 7+ years (longer than WW2!), and would put the resources the military needs into its hands, whilst at the same time the armed forces (I'm looking at your RAF) would properly plan what they need - why, as someone posts above, don't we have small, fast emergency ambulance planes, why doesn't the UK have proper battle support planes (like A-10 or AC-130) rather than fast jets hastily modified to drop bombs at great cost? or sufficient helicopters to minimise the risk to all the troops? I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
    Finally thanks to Michael for his very informative writing and reports - all we seem to get on the news here is when more troops are killed, so it is nice to read more about what the troops are doing (I'd recommend looking at Ross Kemp's TV series' from Afghanistan, they are a bit simplistic but at least let the soldiers tell their side), so please keep it up. And thanks again to all the allied personal for their efforts in saving this young man's life, I hope he makes a full recovery, and I hope that soon we won't have to read about such things, but I am afraid I doubt that.
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    AFSister · 10 years ago
    Yes, we care. We care about every injured soldier, no matter what nationality. We've got some of the best doctors and medical facilities in the world, and we use them to save lives. What a story. How awe-inspiring to know the WHOLE story though. Thank you, MaryAnn!!
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    jic · 10 years ago
    "It's a shame when someone tries to hijack what is, after all, a warming human interest story, to try to make cheap political points about 'socialised' health care (shouldn't a true society have the means to care for everyone in that society?)"

    I agree that this isn't the right place to make cheap political points about health care, but I'm amazed that you then immediately went on to make a cheap political point about health care...
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    Toxicseagull · 10 years ago
    "whilst at the same time the armed forces (I'm looking at your RAF) would properly plan what they need" + "or sufficient helicopters to minimise the risk to all the troops?"
    even if we had all the equipment we want in the world there would be a significant other problem. manpower. the RAF has fulfilled of its allotted numbers and still some squadrons are running at 30% manpower. there would need to be a significant increase in the numbers of men, especially techies (one of the reasons the HC3's are still mainly in the hanger, not enough techies to convert them all at once)

    increases in both require the go-ahead and monetary support from the government and this government abandoned the forces long ago.

    "why doesn't the UK have proper battle support planes (like A-10 or AC-130) rather than fast jets hastily modified to drop bombs at great cost?"
    all fast jets in RAF service were able to drop bombs before the conflict. there has been no conversion "at great cost". the tornado GR4 is a fighter bomber, the harrier equally as the US can attest. the typhoon and F-35 coming into service also have significant ground attack capabilities. AAC also use our heavily modified apaches for CAS.
    are you getting confused with the pre-planned upgrade of the GR4 for the new weapons systems (brimstone etc) that are entering service?
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    Graybeard John · 10 years ago
    As the father of a soldier preparing to deploy to Iraq soon, I cannot tell you how deeply this touches me. My father shared the stories of his experiences in Europe in WWII, including a stint in the hospital for pneumonia. The increased level of care for today's men and women is fantastic.

    I just hope and pray that the current administrations in the US and England do not cut the budgets for our men and women over there.
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    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    Don't want this thread to become political. Just facts. There is a proposed increase of 11% for our service men and women, This includes a pay raise and increased services for our veterans in many ways.
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    toxicseagull · 10 years ago
    thats great for the US. the Brits have proposed cuts of Regular battalions, and rumoured half cuts of the gurhka force.
    the TA (our reservists) despite being heavily deployed in both operations will be suffering cuts of [b]45%[/b] projected.

    this is despite the Army asking for an increase in manpower of roughly another 10,000.

    never mind the navy and airforce reductions in equipment planned :/
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    Charlie elk · 10 years ago
    So inspiring.......
    I run out of words to express my gratitude for the job all of our fighting men and women.
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    Proud Marine Mom · 10 years ago
    As mom of a US Marine infantryman, I can absolutely say yes, we do care. Every single one of the troops is appreciated for their service and their sacrifice. Bravery and honor cross all national lines. We salute these servicemen and women. Thank you again, Michael, for reporting the "real" news to us, and please know we are praying for this British soldier's recovery and the safety of them all.

    Best wishes.
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    elizzar · 10 years ago
    sorry if my comments were poorly phrased, i really didn't mean to do so - what i meant was my admiration for the efforts people went to in order to save a single life - something i think we should all support, that's all. i won't say anything more on that. as for the comments on the RAF planes, it could apply across the board to a lot of our equipment - designed and procured for a war that no longer exists. yes tornados, eurofighter etc can drop smart bombs for gorund support - but it's a singularly expensive way to do so compared to a UAV, helicopter or slower turbine plane etc. the tornado is a fast, low-altitude strike bomber designed to penetrate soviet radar - the eurofighter, primarily an air superiority airplane, has had ground attack capability bolted on tranche 1 and 2 releases - only the tranche (of which the UK will effectively buy ~16) has the capability in its design. the f35b (the version we will buy) is still having design issues and will not be in service for 5+ years, and then will have limited ground attack capability compared to an a-10 or apache.
    if we have a limited pot of money to pay for our services, then surely operation 'now' needs should come first - as toxicseagull states british army troop number cuts are being proposed right now (to take our army well below 100,000 men) and the troops fighting are still waiting for more local airlift (chinooks, merlins etc).
    i would finish just by reiterating how proud i am of the british armed forces, and how thankful i am for the friendship of the usa, it just makes me a little angry when i see how poorly our military gets treated by politicians etc.
    sorry.
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    03Fox2/1 · 10 years ago
    Thank you Michael for bringing us the good, the bad and the ugly about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This dispatch shows the close relationship that we have always had with the British soldiers that stand with us against our common enemy. God Bless and a speedy recovery to this brave British soldier, a credit to both England and America.
    Semper Fi
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    Cathi L. · 10 years ago
    Thank you for bringing to light the care our medical teams provide no matter who it is or where they are from. And thank you, too, for keeping us informed about our own allies in this fight. Mainstream is fairly silent on reporting about our allies, unless it is criticism. I'm sick and tired about mainstream media's lack of interest, yet boy oh boy, we'll hear about the latest on Britney or Idol. You are the real deal and I am so appreciative of the information you give us! Stay safe and keep the faith, Michael!
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    Aleric · 10 years ago
    Bottom line, whatever it takes to help save an allied soldiers life we must do.
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    Conor · 10 years ago
    Just a quick word of advice, those referring to the British as the 'English' is highly offensive to those serving in the British Armed Forces. Britain is made up of England, Scotland, N.Ireland & Wales. Many soldiers are not from England so please get it right..
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    Paul R. Galloway, · 10 years ago
    Of course we care about the Brits and we even care about our enemies. It may not be well known, but many an insurgent's life was saved by American medical teams in Iraq. Frankly, sometimes I want to believe that our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have a higher moral sense about them, but the actual fact is that all of them come from everywhere in the US, from every kind of family situation, from all kind of faith traditions. The only common denonminator is that they are Amedricans or want to become Americans. From there, they serve and they grow and become our best citizens, people who have the best interests of our country at heart. God Bless then all. God Bless you, Michael Yon, your life can't be easy and from me and my family God Bless the British slodier and his mates.
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    FLRS · 10 years ago
    This is an amazing story describing the ability and dedication of the American way in an effort to save a single British Soldier. Not only does it highlight the outstanding degree of professionalism of the American military, but it also demonstrates the incomparable capabilities of this nation's medical elite who are serving alongside and in support of our military personnel both at home and abroad.
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    NahnCee · 10 years ago
    After all that expense and effort on the part of the Americans (and others), he's now back in the muddy health care waters of the United Kingdom? Where we're reading about waits of weeks and months and years, if the specialized equipment is even available, and/or the expertise to use it? What's wrong with this picture?
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    Judy Turner · 10 years ago
    Wow. Just wow. Well done all who made that possible, and well done Michael Yon.
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    Jack Burton · 10 years ago
    Considering they just let a murderer of over 200 Americans go, I think we need to rethink our priorities.
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    Terry Sater · 10 years ago
    I would not have expected anything less. Brits and Aussies are our brothers.
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    Chris Jones · 10 years ago
    This is what separates us from countries like Russia. It would be unthinkable for the Russians to spend that kind of money and manpower to save one man. The US/UK look out for each other and we value the lives of the men and women who fight for us. No two countries have shed more blood together fighting around the world than the U.S. and the U.K. Our British brothers deserve the very best treatment we can offer them.

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