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.
    PhilMB · 10 years ago
    August 20, 2009 - http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=64269

    Experimental lung device kept wounded British soldier alive -- by Mark Abramson

    Angel Mary Ann also added info on that wonderful group up above.

    Again, thank you Michael; God bless you, our Troops, and their supporters.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Axel · 10 years ago
    Amazing story but a very disturbing revelation that he is back in the UK.

    The NHS could very well finish off the job the Taliban started.

    Here's hoping he doesn't catch MRSA or C Diffcilie in the dangerous NHS hospitals of the UK.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mailman · 10 years ago
    Big ups to our American friends for once again pulling out all the stops to help us.

    BUT the real question has to be asked...WHY did we have to rely on our American friends to provide this level of help? We hear daily about how Gordon Brown is doing everything possible for our brave servicemen YET when everything possible SHOULD have been done, we had to rely on America.

    Sorry for the rant but we really should have learnt our lesson in the Falklands War that fighting a war on the cheap is a one way ticket to coming second.

    It disgusts me that now, in a time of war when we should all be pulling together, that this fetid carcus called New Labour (our Government) is expending more energy on destroying the reputation of the head of the army than it is in combating the Taliban!

    Now THAT is telling!

    Regards

    Mailman

    ps. I have had the priviledge of working with American serviceman while in the armed forces and cannot think highly enough of your armed forces.

    God bless America!

    pps. As mentioned above, now the poor bugger is in the care of the NHS I really do feel sorry for him because he will be placed in an open ward (no special servicemens centres anymore, they were closed down by New Labour to save money) where servicemen have been attacked by muslims for serving in Iraq in the past!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter T-S · 10 years ago
    Jack Burton - dont go down that route or i will start to mention the amount of IRA terrorists that were harboured and protected in the US after killing British service personnel in Northern Ireland...Just because one nutter from the Scottish government makes a stupid call like that does not mean that all of the UK should be held to account for that error.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    AUNT OF 2 ANG · 10 years ago
    I don't appreciate the above comments. Most of us are celebrating that British soldier's blessiing of LIFE and all that took place to make it happen. I am still so happy for him. However, I am not interested in reading anything about politics or the health care about any nation on this site. I watch the news about politics when I want to know. I check out this site for information on all troops fighting the war in Afghanistan or any other news worthy things in Afghanistan that M Yon wants to put on his site. Furthermore, I love America and i am proud to be an American and I am not interested in anyone expressing their negative views re: American on this site nor about Britain either for that matter. Soldiers from both countries are fighting side by side and they need us all to stay united and behind them. When one of them hurt, we all should feel compassion and when there is something good happening, let's all focus on it and celebrate.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TJ · 10 years ago
    Using Jack Burton's logic then, the entire United States should be blamed for the friendly fire incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan that have killed UK and Canadian squaddies. Or for that matter, the friendly fire that napalmed a number of Argylls on Hill 282 in Korea.

    Thanks to Michael for posting such a moving story. When the chips are down, the cousins stand together! Hands across the sea!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bruce · 10 years ago
    I am a serving British soldier and have worked with US forces in Germany, GW1, and the post Saddam Iraq. I can say with absolute certainty 'Yes'. We don't always go about our business in the same way, but we are in the same business and on the same side. I have always been impressed with the bravery and generosity of our American allies.

    As for the political arguments about health care, well, both sides may have valid points, but this particular forum isn't the best place to air them. There are plenty of other sites for that. The things that divide us are vastly outnumbered by the things that unite us. Thank you for saving this soldier's life. We hope that we would be be able to return the favour, but also hope we wil never need to.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim · 10 years ago
    As a former US Marine, I have never entertained the thought of our UK allies being anythiong less than a brother (or sister) in a community of the same mind ....This was a wonderful and miraculous feat extended to this british lad ... If it were an American, I would not have expected anything less galant from our friends accross the ocean or north of the border.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joe · 10 years ago
    There is a reason why the American Congressional Medal of Honor hangs over the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. Congratulations to all who saved this young man's life.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gunner · 10 years ago
    Just do'nt get confused between politicians and soldiers,thats all I want to say to you.To the american millitary,a big thanks.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob Fisher · 10 years ago
    Thanks to the Yanks! I know that it seems that some of the Britih public give the Americans a hard time but us British Soldiers know the full value of our American friends. Having had use of your support in Iraq and Kuwait I know that the American people and more importantly the Amerian forces are with us 100%. Again many thaks for all your help in saving this British Squaddie
    Bob
  • This commment is unpublished.
    exafghannurse · 10 years ago
    Pretty ignorant stuff about releasing him to the NHS. Here is where he was released to. Dont post ignorance here please.

    http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-health-news/2008/07/06/soldiers-heap-praise-on-selly-oak-military-hospital-65233-21271888/

    And thanks to the poster up above who pointed out the British sacrifices and costs in protecting all our freedoms.

    Anyone wanting to read up more about British medical efforts overall out there could start by reading this

    http://www.qaranc.co.uk/doctors_and_nurses_at-war.php

    Thanks
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Aunt of 3 ANG · 10 years ago
    I just can't help myself I got to make one more comment. I was reading up above how it was our tax $ that helped make it happen-- I got to say that, using America's tax dollars to help that British soldier live thrilled my heart!!! That is the first worthwhile use of my tax $ that I have heard of in a looooong time. Now if they would only take some of the stimulus money and give our combat soldiers a huge increase in pay instead of making turtle crossings or studying mosquitos or some such thing, DARN, I would be really REALY thrilled!!. I still love America.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    Of course, if you weren't so politically biased and uninformed, you would know that the President has increased funding, including pay increases, to our military more than his predecessor ever did. At the same time he has made mistakes.

    Please, out of respect for what Michael is trying to accomplish with his honest reporting, would it be too much to ask that our people in uniform not be used for partisan politics? There are many places where you can espouse your own particular brand of partisan views. Glad you still love America. Hope that continues.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    AUNT OF 3 ANG · 10 years ago
    Scott D I am neither uneducated nor uninformed and I do not use the military for any partisan politics or any other use. I also do not appreciate your insults which are just as bad as political statements. I stand by what I said. I am always for our military and believe they deserve the best.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    "Now if they would only take some of the stimulus money and give our combat soldiers a huge increase in pay instead of making turtle crossings or studying mosquitos or some such thing,"

    It is what it is.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mailman · 10 years ago
    Aunt,

    Big words there in support of Barry the light worker...care to back them up with some evidence?

    Remember, it never happened without a link.

    Mailman
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mailman · 10 years ago
    exafghannurse,

    THis is from the link you provided;

    "Military personal injured overseas are cared for on the ward alongside civilian patients. Medical care is provided by military medics and civilian staff."

    The problem here is that military personal are being looked after in civilian hospitals on civilian wards with civilian patients by civilian staff!!!

    As you will be aware, muslims outraged by the presence of british service personal in the wards have verbally attacked service patients recovering from wounds received in combat. Not only that but friends and family of service personal have also been verbally attacked by muslims outraged by Britians presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Further more, it was this labour government that closed down the dedicated service hospitals to save money.

    These brave people should be in the care of a dedicated centre where only service personal have access. THis will not only improve medical care BUT also protect service personal and their families from being attacked by outraged muslims in general wards!

    Mailman
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    I'll back up my comment with a link.

    http://www.vawatchdog.org/09/nf09/nffeb09/nf022609-8.htm
  • This commment is unpublished.
    NewsBlaze · 10 years ago
    Just over a year ago, I videoed Bob Calvert interviewing MaryAnn Phillips at a Soldiers Angels event.
    MaryAnn tells of the Chaplain who meets every soldier coming in - and "Giving the soldier back his name," to the wide range of services SA volunteers give to the heroes.

    http://newsblaze.com/story/20080325153358ros1.nb/topstory.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Andy · 10 years ago
    Michael, you say:

    "The thoracic surgical and ICU teams at Regensburg University hospital in Germany, for the highly specialized treatment developed and available there" - regading "developed and available there", you also say:

    "the British medical system back in the United Kingdom did not possess the specialized gear needed to save his life"

    So are you saying this specific, specialized treatement IS available in the USA, or is it ONLY available at the specialized center in Germany where it was developed (presumably in relation to the conflict in Iraq) - you seem to be implying it is available in the USA anddenigrading the British health care system, but you don't actually say that it is available in the USA?

    It's just that some people might form the impression your unfunded work might be looking for some topical funding, unreasonable as that sounds.

    Regards
    Andy Johnson
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Williamson · 10 years ago
    I have only recently chanced upon Michael's blog and thereby this story (which our mainstream media seems determined to overlook - shame on them!).

    As a proud Scotsman (and Briton), can I express my sincere thanks to all those involved, and also my best wishes to the squaddie and his family.

    When the going gets tough you find out who your real friends are.....(as if we didn't know already!).

    Slainthe

    John
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Bednarz · 10 years ago
    A huge thanks for the Brit's and all our Allies fighting to defeat terror in Afghanistan. We owe you a terrific debt we hope to repay with situations like this. We salute you! God Bless.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mailman · 10 years ago
    Reading the papers this morning and saw an article about a soldier who was evacuated from Afghanistan a couple weeks ago who died at Birmingham over night :sad:

    Was wondering whether it was the same guy?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MaryAnn · 10 years ago
    This is MaryAnn with SA in Germany.

    Mailman: No, not him.

    Andy: The equipment needed to treat this Soldier is experimental and available at the German civilian hospital where it was developed. The Landstuhl Acute Rescue Lung Team (US military hospital in Germany) has been trained in its use and are permitted to do so in dire situations. Approval must be given in advance by the patient's next of kin, and all use must be reported to the US FDA.

    All of this information is available in the links within the story, and in my (and other) comments and links above.

    So none of this has anything to do with comparisons between the US and UK health care systems, or their respective militaries' abilities to take care of their Soldiers. It is simply the story about the many who did everything humanly and technologically possible to take care of the needs of the one.

    I think it is also unrealistic to expect Michael, from his remote location, to understand all of the finer points of this complex treatment and the interaction between the Landstuhl military and Regensburg civilian hospitals in Germany. It should also be obvious from everything he has written about the Brits that he has nothing but the highest respect for them.

    Best regards from Germany,
    MaryAnn
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Will · 10 years ago
    I am a former U.S. Army EOD tech who served from 1970-1980 during that time I was given the privilege to observe and learn from the Felix Men of the 2nd Parachute Regiments work in Northern Ireland. I served alongside them again when they rotated to Berlin in I believe 1978 or '79. As I read these posts I was moved as were most. Then the experts started talking and as usual when that happens I recalled an old EOD saying, "Just what we need another f****** expert".
    Michael told the story as he saw it and what he saw was the USAF transport whatever was necessary to get that man the help he needed and to the place where he could get. Who cares if they may have been able to use a smaller plane. If they could have arranged for space aliens to fly the mission it sounds like they would have tried. The reality is you use what you have, in my time we did not have robots or bomb suits because they were not cost effective.
    I want to thank MaryAnn for pointing out that neither the US nor Britain at this time have the Novalung available. The reason the USAF was used was because their doctors have a special relationship with the Germans that developed this device plus the standing team to deploy it correctly and again MaryAnn detailed this in an earlier post.
    Now if Michael wanted a shocker or was trying to be sensational with his coverage all he had to do was title it "German device saves Brit Soldier".
    What I got from this is that a whole lot of professionals were involved doing what they do from the field medic that kept the young man together long enough to get to the field hospital, to the soldiers from all nations that gave blood somewhere to provide the massive amount used in the transfusions and of course the people who coordinated, flew and performed the medical work necessary to save a life. It souncs like they were all very accomplished...perhaps even experts in their field. Reading the posts about medical care, tax dollars and aircraft procurement they would probably agree, great just what we need another....
    Michael, stay safe Afghanistan is going to make Iraq look like a walk in the park.
    To the military, thank you for your service and MaryAnn and the Angels thank you for your service and commitment.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alex Marriott · 10 years ago
    Here in the UK we appreciate the support that the US military and the US people give to our brave, under- resourced and under- manned troops (UK politicians take note). They do so much with so little. It's heart warming to hear all these positive comments.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leland · 10 years ago
    as an ex-pat and supporter of Canadian and other allied nations in GWOT, i praise all efforts to save our Commonwealth bothers.


    LMK
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Civil Affairs · 10 years ago
    Thank You Michael, Maryann, and Will. I appreciate and know your frustration, when a noble narrative slowly succumbs to unwanted quibbling. Michael, I read a dog-eared copy of "Danger-Close" reccomended to me by a SEAL buddy - been with you ever since.

    I haven't yet been to Afi. Been to Iraq. What I'm struck by most is what has gone largely un-remarked upon. To save one life, no cost is too high. In the midst of our doubt, and needless navel-gazing into our larger purpose in the West in general as it confronts Islam (at every conceivable level) - is that no expense was spared - for one life. And he was saved (and Thank God for that). In spite of ourselves I think, we just underscored the difference. That wasn't an aberration, or an anomale, but the norm. We forget that, I fear. We Americans forget our Brittanic inheritance, and too often, we forget who answered the bugle call. Yes, many nations sent soldiers. I've served with the bulk of them. But if you'll forgive the impropriety, who's manning the front lines there, and what do they share in common? Canada and the UK, against considerable domestic opposition - and the ever reliable ANZACs- in the thick of it, with our boys. As a serving US soldier and non-comm - the fact that we moved heaven and earth to save one UK Squaddie strikes me as unremarkable as an Air-unit from Tennesee CAS-EVACing a National Guardsman from Alaska. More salient - in the current clime and conflict - is that we did it for anyone. The best of the West is not lost. I see that now. That's an entire civilisation, bridging the Atlantic and Pacific, that esteems life and miracles the same. I can think of nothiing more eternally ennobling than what Mike's already high-lighted. To UBL go the credits, (and someday soon - the JDAMs): "Your civilization loves life. We love death." (A note of caution to UBL, though: We do death too, in equal measure - for satanic cave-men.)

    To my UK compatriots (in the Atlantic Alliance): I spent probably the best year of my life in Sheffield (difficult as that is to fathom) about 15 years ago. I developed deep and lasting friendships that continue to this day. I called my "homestay" family on 7/7 and I promised them we would help find the perps and would help grind them into powder. You will never be alone again. And we will never again be late. History reccomends the scoreboard since the turn of the last century: Greater Brittania* - 6, Evil - 0.

    * - to include the US and all the other siblings. (Think of your American cousins as Britain-on-Steroids.)

    God bless "our" squaddie and his family. (you gotta figure he's got 4 or 5 pints of Yankee O+ premium unleaded in his veins now). The 2nd Rifles honor GREAT Britain.


  • This commment is unpublished.
    West, retired SF · 10 years ago
    For the last 100 years we have stiood shoulder to shoulder ,around the world with our British Brothers (and sisters !) against aggression,terrorism and evil, we are one people under a common threat,had the tables been turned,I have total confidence that an American soldier would have recieved the same assistance from Great Britain We both battle similar threats to our rights as free men at home as well as in the far corners of the world. Stay the course,Brave Britain,I pray we have the national courage to always be at your side !
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    AFMedic · 10 years ago
    I'm currently serving in Afghanistan and when we're mustering for patrol and I see my British brothers next to me I don't think of them as anything other than my "BROTHERS" (no sisters here but I'd think of them as family if the were). I love each and every one of them like they were blood of my blood and wouldn't hesistate for a second to come to their aid and I know they feel the same for me.
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    Audis Herdman · 10 years ago
    TO ALL WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM: Just wanted to say THANKS and to let you EACH know that you are in my prayers everyday. May GOD bless you and keep you safe. Soldiersangel from Ohio.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeroen Schepers · 10 years ago
    I just wanted to let evrybody now that the also do this for the dutch canadian german belgium polisch and all the troops out there
    the are also great heros that willtry to do everithing in their power to get us back home save

    lots off respect and keep on going
    A proud Dutch Veteran
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Kelley · 10 years ago
    'cause your My Mate, and I, will stand by you.....
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    MaryAnn · 10 years ago
    Thank you Jeroen, for your service. We are so very proud to stand with you, and with all who have joined the fight against oppression in Afghanistan and all over the world.

    You are right, we all stand together and help each other. At Landstuhl hospital we have had the honor to take care of patients from many countries who have been wounded in this fight.

    For example, recently we have many patients from Ghazni province where the Poles are fighting the good fight http://soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/2009/08/polands-armed-forces-day-at-landstuhl.html

    God bless you and your comrades.

    MaryAnn with Soldiers' Angels in Germany.
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    Benyard · 10 years ago
    To answer the question: Yes we Americans DO care about our British Brothers in Arms. As an American I have much respect for both my own country and the UK's military for all they have done in the War on Terror, as well as the other countries whose brave soldiers have also spilled their blood on Middle Eastern sand.
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    Teena · 10 years ago
    Yes, Americans do care about British soldiers. I have a niece who is a nurse in the US Navy and is at the Bastion Hospital. She is very dedicated and compassionate to all patients that come through Bastion. So much so, she worries about not having all the supplies they sometimes need. She has relayed the needs and we (relatives and friends) have been trying to send supplies such as sheets, scrubs, pajamas, towels and washcloths to care for the patients. She proudly participated in the 9-11 flag ceremony at Bastion. Thanks to all of you who are making the greatest sacrifice.
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    St88mt · 10 years ago
    It is very moving to read this after doing the "usual rounds" of online newspaper forums hosting typically bitter, nationalistic, mud-slinging threads about Obama/Brown/Merkell etc etc
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    Bob · 10 years ago
    YES, YES, & YES!!! We American's have nothing but "GREAT" love, respect, and admiration for Britains fighting men & woman, as we do for our own men & woman in uniform.

    Being a Vietnam War veteran, I understand the dangers of war. These fine men & woman put their lives in danger everyday. It's a great honor to go and serve one's country. I take my hat off to each and everyone. I salute them.
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    Jem of Dartmoor, Eng · 10 years ago
    For one 'Tommie' now thats mates for you.
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    John CS · 10 years ago
    As a retired US Marine that has worked with the Brits (42 Commandos), I can say that they are some of the best in the business. Period. Ever since the Falklands, I have admired them. US Marines and Royal Marines share the same genes. They are our "older" brothers and I greatly admire them. I am glad for our professional relationships and shared history. This extends to all the British and Common Wealth Forces. Blood brothers all!
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    Mark · 9 years ago
    You will no doubt be aware of SSGT Olaf (Oz) Schmid though michael previous work, but please read the following regarding Captain (Now Major) Pete Norton.I have had the priviledge to serve with both.

    I also served with numerous US formations during Op Telic (Kuwait/Iraq 2003), and would like to offer my thanks for the hospitality my unit received in the days following our arrival in theatre. We were without accomodation, you housed us, we were without rations, you feed us you didn't mind too much when we took the Micky out of you, but most of all, thank you for being there.

    Pete's citation reads:

    "Captain Norton was the second-in-command of the US Combined Explosives Exploitation Cell (CEXC) based in the outskirts of Baghdad. The unit has been in the forefront of counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) operations and is plays a vital role in the collection and analysis of weapons intelligence.

    "At 1917 hours on 24 July 2005, a three vehicle patrol from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 121st Regiment of the Georgia National Guard was attacked by a massive command initiated IED in the Al Bayaa district near Baghdad. The ensuing explosion resulted in the complete destruction of a 'Humvee' patrol vehicle and the deaths of four US personnel. Due to the significance of the attack, a team from CEXC, commanded by Captain Norton, was tasked immediately to the scene. On arrival, Captain Norton was faced with a scene of carnage and the inevitable confusion which is present in the aftermath of such an incident. He quickly took charge and ensured the safety of all the coalition forces present. A short while later he was briefed that a possible command wire had been spotted in the vicinity of the explosion site. With a complete understanding of the potential hazard to himself and knowing that the insurgents had used secondary devices before in the particularly dangerous part of Iraq, Captain Norton instructed his team and the US forces present in the area to remain with their vehicle while he alone went forward to confirm whether a command wire IED was present.

    "A short while later, an explosion occurred and Captain Norton sustained a traumatic amputation of his left leg and suffered serious blast and fragmentation injuries to his right leg, arms and lower abdomen. When his team came forward to render first aid, he was conscious, lucid and most concerned regarding their safety. He had correctly deduced that he had stepped on a victim operated IED and there was a high probability that further devices were present. Before allowing them to render first aid, he instructed his team on which areas were safe and where they could move. Despite having sustained grievous injuries he remained in command and coolly directed the follow-up actions. It is typical of the man that he ignored his injuries and regarded the safety of his men a paramount as they administered life saving first aid to him. It is of note that a further device was found less than ten metres away and rendered safe the following day. Captain Norton's prescience and clear orders in the most difficult circumstances undoubtedly prevented further serious injury or loss of life.

    "Captain Norton has deployed to numerous other incidents during his time in Iraq, three of which a warrant mention. On 30 April 2005 he was investigating the scene of a suicide vehicle borne IED when his team was attached by two rocket propelled grenades. Despite the attack he still managed to conduct the necessary post-blast analysis. On 9 May 2005, whilst exploiting a supposedly neutralised suicide vest IED, which was packet with a combination of high explosives and ball-bearings, Captain Norton discovered that the detonators were still connected. He immediately, and without thought for his own safety, made the device safe by hand. Furthermore on 23 June 2005, whilst investigating the scene of an IED, Captain Norton discovered, concealed in the roadside, a secondary claymore mine. His quick and instinctive thinking ensured the area was rapidly evacuated and allowed a US Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team to clear the device, thereby saving further loss of life. Captain Norton has come under fire and has been exposed to significant danger on a number of occasions. He has consistently behaved in an exemplary fashion and his professionalism has been of the highest order. Captain Norton's outstanding bravery at the incident in Al Bayaa and throughout his tour fully justifies formal recognition."

    http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/HistoryAndHonour/GeorgeCrossAwardedToBombDisposalExpert.htm

    It may be of interest, that in addition to the GC, pete was also awarded the FBI Star.
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    Robb · 9 years ago
    Mike,
    A good story is food for the soul. This is that kind of story. Thank you for the gift.
    ,
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    Lee · 8 years ago
    It is truly inspirational to see the full might of the US military swing into action to save the life of a British soldier. I do not believe this is the topic to bring in any other debates on systems of health care or questions on whether the US cares about the UK. It is a heart warming story.It must give all coallition partners a great boost to know that no matter who the US military medical system will pull out all the stops to help the injured....As a former British soldier I thank you all for your magnificent efforts in helping a simple soldier in need
    God bless you all
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    Pilot Medical · 8 years ago
    Thanks for the post. It was really helpful to solve my confusion.

    Occupational Medicine
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    Edgar · 7 years ago
    Thanks for this article. This is actually the first I've read the story about this mission.

    I was deployed in the CAOC in '09 in AECT and I was the one made the initial phone call to TACC to coordinate this mission. One of my busiest two days of that deployment and one of the most rewarding mission. Glad to play a part..

    I'm currently deploy here in the CAOC again doing the same job again and I'm sure this wont be my last
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pilot Medical · 7 years ago
    Thanks for the post.
    It was really helpful to solve my confusion.

    Occupational Medicine
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    Riversidedental · 7 years ago
    Great post ,
    It was really helpful to solve my confusion,

    General and Cosmetic Dentistry
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pilot Medical · 7 years ago
    Thanks for the post.
    It was really helpful to solve my confusion.

    Occupational Medicine
  • This commment is unpublished.
    thebronze · 7 years ago
    Another embellished article by Michael Yawn.

    http://www.mudvillegazette.com/033746.html

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