Michael's Dispatches



10 May 2012

Many people have contacted lawmakers around the country about MEDEVAC failures in Afghanistan.  Most of the lawmakers blew it off, or seemed intimidated by the Pentagon.  But one serious man over in Missouri has not backed down.  Congressman Todd Akin is demanding answers.  This week, Congressman Akin brought it to Congress:

Lawmaker seeks report on medevac flights

“In a continuing battle between a key lawmaker and the Army over whether to use armed or unarmed medical evacuation helicopters in combat zones, the House Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday to require detailed comparisons of survival rates, speed and costs of the two methods.

“Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., is the chief sponsor of legislation demanding a report from the Defense Department that looks at medical evacuation capabilities of all of the services and allies in combat zones. The data will be used, specifically, for Akin’s challenge to the Army’s policy of using unarmed helicopters that in some cases have to wait for armed escorts to enter hot zones.

“By voice vote and with no debate, the armed services committee approved an Akin amendment that orders the Defense Department to provide Congress details that can be evaluated by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The DoD report and GAO review would come in time for consideration as part of the 2014 defense budget.”

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heath · 9 years ago
    Thumbs up & Fingers crossed and on my knees with hands clasped in Prayers that something GOOD HAPPENS. :-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dustoff848 · 9 years ago
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Neil · 9 years ago
    The Pentagon and US Army risk our soldier's lives for what, some political control of the American people's resources on the battle field? Pathetic behavior by political scumbags who don't deserve to be in charge of anything where soldiers lives are on the line. This really pisses me off and is a perfect example of A-holes who really care more about their own careers than what's best for our soldiers and our country.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    peter · 9 years ago
    Thank God for Michael "Bulldog" Yon!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewat · 9 years ago
    "Show Me" State indeed, excellent news!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marc · 9 years ago
    I just don't get it! All the other branches arm their Medevac birds and do not display the Red Cross. What is with the Army and their aggressive stance against self protection for their Medevac birds? The reasons they give make no sense. I know they only care for their careers, but how can adding more protection for our Soldiers hurt them? I'm not mad about this, I'm ENRAGED!
    Thank you so much Mike for staying on top of this.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Andy · 9 years ago
      [quote name="Marc"]All the other branches arm their Medevac birds and do not display the Red Cross. Marc[/quote]

      Not one of ther other branches have MEDEVAC. USAF are Combat Search and Rescue aircraft and crews in country to pick up downed pilots if that happens. Just does not happen a lot so they assist in the MEDEVAC role as a SECONDARY mission. USMC only have transport helicopters for moving personnel and equipment. No medically trained people on board. The British have one CH-47 Chinook with medical people on board to MEDEVAC patients, but they too require a British AH-64 Apache escort (dedicated to them at all times I might add) before they will perform an evacuation in any threat area.

      The Army Dust-off crews are the only platform, spread all over the country in very high numbers, that perform this DEDICATED role. They are there only to perform Medevac, and nothing else. They have no dedicated gunship support, and routinely go into higher threat areas without gunship support when the patient needs demand immediate evacuation to survive. That only happens when they are allowed to launch by those powers that be allow them to launch. Their "Launch Authority" can come from Army Aviation Chain of Command who have been given that authority, but also is funnelled through either British or American Patient Evacuation Coordination Centers (PECC) who, quite often, bypass the common sense mantra that "speed in evacuation off the battlefield is of essence" when it comes to the survivability of a patient. A multiple amputee patient should not need to wait an additional 0 minutes for escort, or a CH-47 filled with doctors or paramedics, when life is hanging by the threat and there is a platform with adequate medical treatment just 5 minutes away who can have that patient on a surgical table in less than 20 minutes. Such is the case in RC-South and Southwest.

      Want to be mad at someone, look at that Aviation Chain of Comand and the PECC, both whom bypass common sense in terms of speed of avacuation and automatic authority for crews to launch to pick up critical patients. It ain't the lack of guns or the Red Crosses that keep the aircraft on the ground. It's the PECC who makes wrong decisions and the Aviation Chain of Command who wish to micromanage the launching of crews to cover their own asses when things get rough.

      I know, because I just left there after flying Dust-off for many months as a crewmember in the thick of it.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      MEDEVACmatters · 9 years ago
      From a speech by then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (May 24, 2011)

      “In the course of doing everything I could to turn things around first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, from the early months I ran up against institutional obstacles in the Pentagon — cultural, procedural, ideological — to getting done what needed to get done on behalf of those fighting the wars we are in, whether it was outpatient care for the wounded; armored troop transports; medevac; ramping up intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support; or any number of urgent battlefield needs.

      It became evident over time that changing the momentum of these conflicts and increasing the odds of military success in the future would also require fundamentally reshaping the priorities of the Pentagon and the uniformed services and reforming the way they did business: how weapons were chosen, developed and produced; how troops and their families were cared for; how leaders were promoted and held accountable; and, related to all of the above, where money was spent — or misspent, as the case may be.”

      For more details check out MEDEVACmatters.org or the MEDEVACmatters Facebook page
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tammy · 9 years ago
    As someone who has family in Army in Afghanistan I can shout a big "Thank You". They were MEDEVAC to a hospital due to a small IED vehicle accident with minor injuries. Now back on mission. They were told before they deployed the only way MEDEVAC could come in immediately was for life threating issues and the loss of an eye, etc. - wouldn't be one of them. It needs to change.

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