Michael's Dispatches

Red Air: America’s Medevac Failure

133 Comments

2011-09-17-221447cc10004-4 Cav waiting to board helicopters for an air assault.

12 October 2011
Afghanistan

Most of our troops in Afghanistan never see combat.  The closest they get might be the occasional rocket attacks on bases.  A relatively small number will be in so many fights that the war becomes a jumble.  For those who see fighting daily, their mental time markers are often when they or their buddies were hurt or died, or when some other serious event occurred.

The troops in 4-4 Cav have seen a great deal of fighting.  Their courage seems bottomless and for two-and-a-half months I was an eyewitness to their professionalism and courage.

This mission would be dangerous.  The Female Engagement Team was left behind and the only female Soldier to come was a medic because, as she would tell me, “I’m the badass medic.”

We sat in the morning darkness behind the helicopters waiting for them to start.  A few Soldiers were sleeping on the rocks, while others murmured about this or that.  A bomb dog looked at me, then plopped her head on the stomach of her handler, leaving her nose pointing to the sky due to the bulk of the handler’s body armor. The air was still and cool at about 0230 when the helicopters cranked engines under the waning gibbous moon.  Illumination was enough for an RPG shot on the landing which could take us all down in a ball of fire.

The helium-filled aerostat balloon tugged at its tether in the background, and light years farther in the background was Orion, pointing north.  Remarkably, all of the fighting done by 4-4 Cav has occurred within just a few miles of this base.

00001MTSStill001cc1000CH-47 lifting off on a 4-4 Cav air assault. This image was made from a previous mission. All other images in this dispatch are from the mission described herein.

The CH-47 engines were roaring under the spinning rotors as crew members inspected the aircraft with flashlights looking for any signs of trouble.  Thick, hot fumes washed over us as we boarded. Troops filled every seat and all the space on the floor.  The helicopters lifted off and soon the wheels touched down on the landing zone in tilled fields. We rushed away from the back ramp and the helicopters flew off into morning darkness leaving us among marijuana fields and the Taliban. The mission into the deadly village of Leyadira had begun.

Through night vision, the Operations Sergeant Major Gregg Larson--a fine NCO--could be seen flipping open his Army compass and checking the azimuth.

00007MTSStill004cc1000On the landing zone.

Soldiers ahead of us searched for bombs using special gear such as metal detectors and other more secret stuff, but that only works to a point. And it only covers the area where a trooper has used the gear.  I don’t trust it.  The dogs are okay, but they get blown up, too.  Often the first person to find a bomb is far back down the line and he finds it by getting killed.  Keeping your distance from the person in front is crucial.  Being too close to any other man doubles the chance of both getting hit.

The village of Leyadira was full of booby-traps waiting for us--trip wires, pressure plates, and who knows what else--but we didn’t know that yet.  As best I can tell, Specialist Chazray Clark was at least number eighteen down the line.  The village was vacant other than the enemy.  The commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Katona, expected a big fight.   The moon was so bright that it cast shadows.  We were maybe two hundred meters into Leyadira when the first explosion happened.

00020MTSStill001cc1000

BOOM!!!  Off to front right there was a tremendous blast.  Seconds later, debris began raining down and could be heard coming through the trees on the right.  The ANA Soldier looked at me startled (image above) and started to run for cover, but there was none to be found.  I just stood still, waiting to be hit because it was better to be still in a place now known to have bombs.  We were not in small arms contact.  He saw me stand still and he did the same.

2011-09-18-000139cc10004-4 Cav Soldier working

Specialist Chazray Clark had stepped on a bomb.  Some Afghan Soldiers had strayed off the cleared path and Chazray was following them because they were in front of his section.  Sergeant Edward Wooden had been close to Chazray but not wounded.  Wooden was proving yet again to be solid under pressure.  He had been wounded during a previous mission but now was good to go.  Sergeant Carroll was so close to this explosion that he was stone deaf.   Chazray was terribly wounded and had been thrown and landed on his face. The platoon was staggered by the blast yet kept their bearing.  They were amazingly calm.

2011-09-18-000707cc1000Minutes after the blast, Lieutenant Flores is working the situation by making a “9-line” communication.

In my location, the air was clear, but closer to the blast area the dust was thick.  The night vision devices were useless for those in the immediate area of the blast.  Sergeant Wooden called out the names of his men in the darkness, taking head count. Near the detonation, nobody could see each other.

2011-09-18-001224cc1000A Soldier moves toward the scene of the blast while clearing his steps. No visible lights are being used.

Sergeant Wooden called, “Clark!” Chazray was facedown. One arm and both his legs were gone, and yet this man had the strength and presence to call out from the dust and darkness.  Chazray answered, “I’m okay. ”  Sergeant Wooden said Chazray’s voice sounded completely normal.  Chazray was carrying a good deal of explosives when he stepped on the bomb, including det-cord and caps.  Luckily, they didn’t detonate.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dennis · 8 years ago
    My first reaction was wow.. Mike Yon has balls calling out the brass like that. The nco's cant do that! But then I remembered where Mike was when he wrote the dispatch and what those warriors were facing that night and other nights. And then it hit me...Isnt it odd that our warriors fear the reaction of their superiors more than the enemy? Now THATS fubar.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      deb · 8 years ago
      Well said, Dennis... so very sadly, well said.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Neil · 8 years ago
    I'm pissed beyond words, this is truly WTF. After ten years, Army politics still can't be put aside for the sake of troops in the field on real missions. I have three boys, all interested in serving, I'll be showing this story to them. Damn sad story, and MY you are correct, some General needs his ass handed to him for this pathetic event.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark Brown · 8 years ago
    Let's all remember BG, ret, USArmy Major Charles Kelly, Dust off pilot, MOH, Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam 6Jan1968. That man DID not take no for an answer, Google his name and read his citation. WTF is wrong with the military today? Let the warriors do what they do best.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Mark · 8 years ago
      My facts are mixed up, The Vietnam dustoff pilot is (then) Capt Patrick Brady, his CO was Charles Kelly, very much a hero in his own right. The other facts are correct, except Brady retired with 2 stars (MG).
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Patrick · 8 years ago
      Might want to go back and read about MAJ Charles Kelly. After his death on 1 July 1964, he was awarded the DFC, not the MOH. He was KIA as a Major in the Army. You might be confusing him with (then) MAJ Patrick H. Brady who was awarded the MOH and retired as a MG.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Arnie Chilton · 7 years ago
      Yep I remember.He flew in didn' make any difference if the LZ was hot or not. He went in anyway. he had Grit.
      HOOAH!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shark 4 · 8 years ago
    I was a Vietnam Huey pilot and this story makes me want to puke. In Vietnam we all flew "medevac missions," not just Dustoff ships. Whoever was closest to the unit in contact diverted immediately to get the wounded out. Had this not been the case there would have been tens of thousands more names on The Wall. Yes, our Huey slicks had two M-60 machine guns but they were more for moral support. They weren't going to suppress any determined bad guys. We didn't wait for gunships. We didn't ask for a release from our current mission. We didn't call for clearance. We heard the call and we hauled ass.

    For the U.S. Army to allow this Medevac situation to fester and cause U.S. KIAs for nothing more than internal turf wars calls for courts martial, lots of them and the higher the rank the better.

    Thanx Mike for doing the reporting no one else is doing.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      jim · 8 years ago
      Thank You for your service and saying what most people wont. We are fighting cavemen who only use that Red Cross as a target. We can unleash the dogs and stop pretending Pakistan is anything but a devout enemy with nuclear weapons but no schools or jobs for its people. Iran was just caught trying to kill a Saudi diplomat that would have killed hundreds including US Senators and Obama will do exactly nothing. We will never win in Iraq or Afghanistan until we deal with the Iranians.
      Iran is a very young country whose people when given the chance express nothing but love for the US and its people. I have had the pleasure to meet and know many Persians and they are a generous and kind people that always express great love for the US people. . The very few mullahs and Kuds and Revolutionary terrorists that slaughtered a generation while Obama vacationed this spring need to go and the Middle East and Double dealing Saudi's will be a much easier palce.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        jay · 8 years ago
        please iran is causing more problems in iraq and are responiable for more then ther fair share of weapons and training in that reagion so F iran
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Okiquit · 8 years ago
      I'm eternally grateful to the Dustoff crews of the 436th Medical Detachment out of Danang who saved many lives, U.S. and Vietnamese, by their willingness to fly in lousy conditions, land in tiny LZs and brave enemy fire to pick up our wounded. They were unarmed and, as far as I know, NEVER escorted!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Shark 4 · 8 years ago
        How right you are. When I was flying Shark gunships we would occassionally cover 436th MD ships on their missions but they flew most of them without cover. Clearly there was a different ethos in Vietnam since we were making it up as we went along. OJT combat I guess. Hard to believe all the lessons we learned, at a terrible price, have been discarded for Pentagon turf wars. Despicable.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Eric · 8 years ago
    Michael,

    I am a Pedro pilot. I can tell you from first hand experience that this happens way more often than it should. It is important to not that not only do the Pedros carry .50s, we also have full medical capability on [U][I][B]both[/B][/I][/U] aircraft. That means that we have more hands to treat the wounded. There are few things worst than bringing back a hero instead of a patient because of poor leadership/decision making at the higher levels.

    I have nothing but respect for my Army helo brethren, and I firmly believe that both sides (Army Dustoff and the USAF Pedros) want nothing more than to do what is best for the patients.

    P.S. There are ways that the PEDROS can be requested.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    willem · 8 years ago
    I don't doubt the politics involving the Air Force, nor do I doubt there is a military general somewhere who needs to be confronted with investigation.

    But there is something gravely ill in modern medicine in this Obama era. There are likely statistics coming from the major university medical schools which have pointed out that battlefield wounded who would otherwise die during the first post-injury hour without major medical intervention are also those with wildly expensive post-injury expenses. The Progressive medical professional has already decided the badly wounded have no right to an extended life because the cost doesn't justify it. The arrogance and ambition of these treacherous university vermin cannot be underestimated.

    God Bless you all, and the bravery and the good you represent.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Okiquit · 8 years ago
      W.T.F. are you talking about? And if you're not willing to give facts and name names like MY, then just shut up.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Ken · 8 years ago
      What are you smoking??? Obama Era??? Which [QUOTE]major university medical schools[/QUOTE] are you referring to ??? Could you post a link to this study??? Are these [QUOTE]Progressive medical professional[/QUOTE] in uniform???

      Our soldiers are treated by professional military medical units. Both US and Coalition doctors are stationed in KAF and else where in Afghanistan, they are very dedicated to there brothers in arms, I am sure they do save every life they can. The point of Mr. Yon story is not about doctors or universities, it is about commanders not being flexible in the face of adverse conditions. Our commanders need to adapt to situations such as this and damn the rules and get these guys some help.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        willem · 8 years ago
        Behind the politics is money. The professionals on the ground are not the issue. Policy is the issue and after cost is the issue. Money.

        IF the WILL and the authority were there, the most rapid battlefield extractions possible would have continued. Incredulously. No matter what is said, the policy of delay that killed this brave soldier does not change. Therefore, the conclusion is very clear and rather simple. A decision has been made.

        Death saves money. When "defendable" delays result in death, money is saved. What these policies did to Chazray is but one metaphorical example of how promoters of Hegelian eugenics philosophy intend, by fiat of policy, law and resource constraint, to usurp the liberties and quality of life that the brave fallen Chazray and so many others have fought to defend.

        I've have written and cited more but for the limit on post length.

        God bless you, Michael. I'll be hitting the tip jar on the way out. We all should.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        willem · 8 years ago
        No. The problems are not in uniform. Because of the heroic rescues by military medical professionals the the most horrific traumas have been stayed and lives rescued from certain death. Such heroic talent and intellect is found routinely in battlefield medicine, but such bravery in medicine is rather rare in orthodoxy of today's typical university and medical school.

        In the latter's lofty parlors is where you find the devoted Europhiles and the Progressive medical professionals. They are the ones who argue extensive aftercare is a waste of money that could be better been spent on research or other university projects to officially perfect "cost-appropriate medical delivery."

        I wrote much more for each post, but length is delimited and all were edited back.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          NotSoPCArmyWife · 7 years ago
          WTF?? Are you American?

          I've worked in such "lofty parlors" and I can assure you: RARE is the MD who refuses to quit on a patient even in the face of futility. If they decided that "extensive aftercare is a waste of money", as you insist, then there'd be no ICUs.

          Sorry, the so-called Death Panels came from the Progressive/Leftist side of the aisle AND from the ObamaCare monstrostity forced down our throats.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      cmholm · 8 years ago
      This isn't a proxy for moaning about the PPACA or what ever you're going on about. Take it to redstate.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      SFC Earnán · 7 years ago
      Willem, you should heed the common advice about remaining silent lest one be thought a fool.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pavehawk55 · 8 years ago
    I am a former Pedro Flight Engineer and after spending 13 years of flying and watching numerous American, Coalition and Civilian casualties materialized on the chat windows, I had to call it quits. I can't begin to explain how helpless it feels to watch an American solder's vital signs continue to deteriorate and you know that your crews are more capable, closer and will not wait to get our asses in there to get him out.

    I sickens me to no end to see this petty, inter-service crap continues to take place at the expense of lives. It is not just one general that needs his ass handed to him, it is multiple generals over the last 10 years. The military is rife with this shit. I would say this needs a congressional hearing, but that bunch is broken too.

    I hope there is a special place in Hell for the generals that are sacrificing lives at the name of their service's prestige.

    Fly safe brothers and sisters....So Others May Live!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      deb · 8 years ago
      Pavehawk, you're a brave man who did the best he could. Thanks go to you and your fellow service men and women for doing the same. Hopefully, this issue being brought out into the open will bring about some change. I'm not sure who to contact or write, and wonder what an online petition for a congressional enquiry or hearing would do? Either way, thank you for your service :-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Billy · 8 years ago
    Mike,
    I am a PEDRO guy and have been for 13 yrs now. You hit the nail right on the head..... Politics, from the top down, is the bottleneck failure when dealing with CASEVAC/MEDEVAC missions iin Afghanistan. I'm sure you saw this first hand when you were with us in '09. USA MEDEVAC and USAF CSAR crews want nothing more than to get our wounded brothers/sisters off the battlefield and to proper medical care ASAP. Both services have the medical capabilities to deliver life-saving care enroute to the nearest medical facility. That's what every Rescue guy wants, doesn't matter from what service, as long as it gets done and lives are saved. I can only hope that this story gets elevated to the highest levels and someone has to answer to this..... As stated by the previous PEDRO pilot, this happens entirely WAY to often, especially when you have highly trained individuals chomping at the bit to help others who are just sitting on the ramp..... "That Others May Live"
    • This commment is unpublished.
      deb · 8 years ago
      Mike, just wanted to say thanks for your service... to you and all those like you too!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom · 8 years ago
    Michael; Thanks for speaking out on this. What you share was confirmed by one of the Marines who was wounded with my son earlier this year in the Sangin area. This Marine in particular was emphatic in the point that the British pilots were the best to have because they would come in no matter what, regardless of a firefight or not. I was surprised to hear that and he explained it was all the regulations and restrictions that hamper our pilots from doing what needs to be done.
    Had my son and the other seriously wounded Marines had to have relied on US medavac in their situation, there's a good chance that they would not have survived the incident. This particular Brit chopper was a CH-46 with machine guns and the chopper was actively putting down fire during the medavac. God bless the Brits for being there!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Air Grouch · 8 years ago
    "...Army medevac helicopters fall under the Medical Services Corps [sic], who mark medevacs with red crosses. Wrong, they fall under the GSAB (Aviation). The red crosses are so theoretically don’t get shot, even if that only works if we go to war with Canada. Try reading FM 27-10. "Officers will tell you face-to-face that the Medical Corps does not want to give up its helicopters because senior officers want their own helicopters to shuttle them from here to there..." More bull. MEDEVAC companies are commanded by a Major, so "senior" officers demanding MEDEVAC 60s for "shuttle" purposes are in short supply, and the GSAB commander has a battalion of vanilla helicopters to choose from - hence the "general support" in GSAB.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Michael Yon · 8 years ago
      Air Grouch -- your information is incorrect. Starting with the very first sentence (quoted) wherein you add "[sic]." Actually, it's not a sic. It's "corps." Given that your first attempt at correction was incorrect, that's all the time I'll give it. If you knew what you were talking about, you would already know it's corps.

      http://medicalservicecorps.amedd.army.mil/

      Michael Yon
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Air Grouch · 8 years ago
        Read your own link, Michael, it is Medical [B]Service[/B] Corps, not Medical [B]Services[/B] Corps. I realize it may be an advanced concept that one wrong word makes the whole phrase wrong, next time I'll use quotes, e.g., "Medical Services Corps"[sic] to make it easier for you.

        Nice dodge on the rest of your errors, though.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          57 Dustoff · 7 years ago
          Actually the Medical Company (Air Ambulance) is under the mission command of the GSAB. It is the GSAB that has the responsibility to control when, where and if a MEDEVAC launches on the mission. The Army Medical Department (AMEDD) not the Medical Service Corps, has the responsibility of equipping, manning and writing the doctrine for the Air Ambulance Company. The Medical Service Corps is one of eight branches of the AMEDD, similar to the Medical Corps (Docs) branch.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Phillip · 8 years ago
        Mr Yon,

        You can go ahead and address his post now that you've been corrected.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    nam_medic · 8 years ago
    As a Dustoff medic in Vietnam 66-67, I can say with certainty we went into many hot LZ's. Our crews and pilots took our Purple Hearts as part of the job. My unit had KIA's and WIA's, Huey's shot to pieces, but never let down the grunts. We felt 98 to 99 percent of the wounded would live if we could get them to an Evac unit within an hour. We were and are proud of our service.

    To the current Army decision makers; Dust Off sole purpose is for other soldiers to live. Let the crews do their job.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Aleric · 8 years ago
      I think the main problem here as Michael Yon illustrated was the leadership in control of the copters. No one is saying the men responding in the helicopters are not willing but more than likely unable to respond when they are needed most.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David MacDonald · 8 years ago
    The US Army Department lost Command and Control of Aeromedical Evacuation assets in 2005 as a result of the Army Aviation Transformation Initiative (ATI), which was politically driven. This resulted in delayed response times in both the Iraqi and Afghanistan theaters, which contributed to many unnecessary deaths. The SECDEF eventually intervened to ensure rapid response times. However, we seemed to have backslid since the retirement of SECDEF Gates. I was involved at the highest levels in the ATI process and a staunch opponent. There is a lot more to this story, I am available at anytime to discuss this poor decision by Army leadership. The blood of this soldier is on the hands of former VCSA GEN (RET) Richard (Dick) Cody. COL David MacDonald, USA RET, Medical Service Corps (Aviator), 703-304-8435, jdcmacd@msn.com.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Terri · 8 years ago
      Col. McDonald,

      What in your opinion would be the most effective way to bring attention to this issue, and to have the policies changed specifically related to removing the red cross from the Army Medevacs and arming them?

      Thank you for your service.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Heywood Jablomi · 8 years ago
        Col. Mac:

        Thanks for speaking your piece, and thanks for shaming the bureaucrat at fault.

        Prosecution and jail would be too good for him.

        RLTW and DOL,

        Heywood Jablomi
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Adam · 8 years ago
    Unfortunately the Military in general is nothing but polotics. Any brass Col and up are litteraly just politicians in training now. Most brass Capt and up are just trying to get to that point. In Iraq at the beggining just after the invasion, they would only give us two clips 10 rounds each. When the NCO's voiced their concerns they were told they couldn't justify the expense of any more ammo than what we were getting, and we should be ucky we get that many rounds. It's a shame, too bad we don't have leadership willing to stand up to DC and just implement simple common sense.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shaun · 8 years ago
    I pray for Chazray, his wife and family. He which hath no stomach to this fight....... - I will not dishonour those who have fallen or served the cause - But isnt it time a soultion was found - pull out or flood the place with troops and obliterate the Taliban? May be I am so jaded that I no longer see what the fight is for - all I see now are the faces of the young servicemen who have died. Michael - how do you and our boys keep going? I support you all 100% - God bless you all.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Powder · 8 years ago
    I am an Army Dustoff Medic currently serving in Afghanistan. I am a paramedic and have 8 years experience. Checklists are the "accepted norm" and we have lost the Battle Focus needed to effectively save lives. The decision to launch us is resting in the hands of the wrong people with the wrong mind set. PEDRO, despite what goes around between branches, your leaders seem to have the right idea. I would personally have no problem ripping off our red crosses.and placing heavy arms on our aircraft. This is said to be against the Geneva Convention which has no place in this war. Our enemy is going to shoot at whoever the hell they want, whenever they want, red cross or not. In truth, they are specifically targeting the DUSTOFF. We just need leaders with balls to give us the tools to defend ourselves while doing our jobs. We are all soldiers and despise hearing about somebody making the ultimate sacrifice when they didnt have to.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Martha · 8 years ago
      You said this extremely well, there is no excuse for this kind of situations. When will our government learn that the enemy does not recognize or care about the Geneva Convention. They play by their own rules.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Army Officer · 8 years ago
      There's nothing in the Geneva Conventions that prohibit the removal of crosses from MEDEVAC birds, but marked MEDEVACs and medics are afforded extra protection from the Conventions. That said, these protections are mostly ignored by the current enemy, as you said.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Aleric · 8 years ago
      Thank you Powder for all you do and for your service. For those of us unable to help over there it means more than you know.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hugh · 8 years ago
    It is my understanding that there is a SECDEF-mandated policy to get medevac to wounded soldiers quickly. What the hell is going on? God bless all of you who are fighting for us. You deserve a better and more responsive system to save your lives if you're wounded. God bless Chazray Clark.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MikeM · 8 years ago
    Focus on the third section of this article as it has to do with this discussion:
    http://www.stripes.com/cool-headed-medic-thrown-into-trial-by-fire-1.153269

    There was an Apache with them that time (obviously needed). Problem arises when that apache is broken on the tarmac or tasked out. That particular mission could've resulted in a downed helo with the rescuee and the aircrew in significant danger to loss of life along and complete re-prioritization of all aerial platforms in RC-South. With or without weapons on that bird, that would have been a tough one. But without weapons, it's obvious that rescue couldn't have happened without additional loss of life.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      MikeM · 8 years ago
      Should lengthen the script for comments, have more:


      - You can say you want to have dedicated apaches to these missions but they're aren't enough with literally dozens of TIC's asking (demanding) them throughout the day.
      - You can send Pedro's every time and sap their availability for more significant rescues as they are designed
      - OR you can put some damned 240's on the doors of that bird and give it what you've got considering all constraints.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jeff · 8 years ago
    I say rip off the damn red crosses and arm them to the teeth.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rancher · 8 years ago
    Why are we even short helicopters? War should mean war, sacrifice on the part of every American, support for the troops even if it means we here at home do without. We have forgotten how to wage war, haven't done it right since WWII. Can't arm the helicopters? Limited ammo? Ridiculous rules of engagement? Politics have always gotten in the way of waging war, think Patton, but we have taken it to the point that our country's very survival can be in doubt. Obama wanted to apologize to the Japanese for dropping a bomb during war, that's where were at and I think we can't go on like this very much longer without falling to our enemies.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      okiquit · 8 years ago
      This is not a matter of money or politics. It's a matter of misplaced priorities among high-ranking officers who worry about their prestige and careers more than they worry about saving lives.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Rancher · 8 years ago
        Lack of helicopters and two clips of ammo are obviously about money.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      MikeM · 8 years ago
      Rancher, we're short a number of things starting with the troop numbers to fight a counterinsurgency the way it's intended. Your second sentence says it all as that's simply not the America we live in; at least not since the '40's.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MsMarti · 8 years ago
    I think the family of this brave hero will find your article very painful to read and that pains me.

    I am disappointed in the tact you took when writing this piece. It could have been handled very differently and still have been on point.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      MikeM · 8 years ago
      Ms Marti,

      I get where you're coming from, but if people take notice to issues such as this, then maybe other lives can be saved. As you can see from the comments, there are many veterans and current soldiers who have first hand knowledge of this problem and can contribute, but none of us can openly challenge the forces that be. Michael Yon has the medium, support, and knowledge to potentially change backward policy and at least in this case, it's in the name of preventing more stories like this.

      Either way, you are noble in your support for the man's family.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        MsMarti · 8 years ago
        Thank you.

        I have no problems with him challenging the policy.

        I don't see why he must again bring to light all the minute details of SPC Clark's injuries to make his point. The reader could have been referred back to the original article with a link. That is all.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Aleric · 8 years ago
      Why?

      Its been 10 years and talking around the basic facts is nothing but BS. We dont need more tact, we need more action and less worry about who we offend. If we simply fought the war in Afghanistan and stop trying to keep from making one group or the other mad we would have more success than this REPEAT of Vietnam.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Mitch · 8 years ago
      As in covering up the real truth you mean right? I am a soldier of this unit and was wounded there in june by an RPG blast. I knew this soldier and I am proud of the way that he versed this account it tells the truth and nothing but the truth. People need to realize everything isn't roses and sun shine there is a darker side to this world, to this war, and i think it was outstanding. If you can't take what you just read here in this article than stay out of these types of forums you have no business in them i've had buddies and brothers die over there and you know what this is the best justice they have. So if you can't take it, get out of the way.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Geoff · 8 years ago
        I doubt you are who you say you are. Everyone I know who has served in combat does not want their family to hear the details of how they get killed (if they do). Nor do they call for commanding officers to "be fired" when things go wrong in combat, as they alsoway do.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Phillip · 8 years ago
        Riiight. Dustoff loses one guy and all of a sudden they aren't doing their job? If you actually did serve in a combat element that saw action then you would have seen, first hand, how great dustoff has been at rescuing our casualties. I don't believe you.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Geoff · 8 years ago
      Amen to that.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Epador · 8 years ago
      Concern Troll. Ignore
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heywood Jablomi · 8 years ago
    Outstanding Dispatch, brother.

    Beware the bureaucrats and the cubicle warriors who will attempt to divert you, or who will claim that you do not know what you are talking about. This is a simple issue. I agree with the way that you have framed it. Those who do not, are usually those who are enslaved to a parochial outlook, defending some bullshit fiefdom.

    Keep preaching truth to authority. Listen to your inner heart. And let me know if you need anything.

    RLTW and DOL,

    Heywood Jablomi
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ian · 8 years ago
    I am positive that the taliban respect the red crosses ......... Jesus, Mary and Joseph, protect our brave soldiers.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Mitch · 8 years ago
      Yeah right, i've seen it first hand that they don't. Not sure if you were being sarcastic or not.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      AJ · 8 years ago
      Ian, The bad guys punch below the belt repeatedly using tactics we abhor and can't respond to because the rules of warfare. Do not succumb to the belief that there is any honour shown from the other side.

      If in doubt, saddle up and walk through the same dust and witness what so many of us have seen repeatedly. A Red Cross equals a bullseye on more Infidels.

      AJ sends
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Michael Yawn · 6 years ago
        I don't know Ian but, I am certain he was being quite sarcastic. :cry:
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Active PEDRO · 8 years ago
      no way... they dont give a crap about red crosses, come on America wake up....
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Frank Burt · 8 years ago
      If anthing, the presence of a red cross is a provocation that symbolizes to the Muslims the Crusades of old; or at least that is how the mullahs will interpret it to their illiterate flocks. They will preach that this is proof positive that we are nothing more than evil Christians hell bent on destroying Islam and subjugating them.

      To continue its use with its associated rules that prevent the arming of aircraft so marked is not only anachronistic, but needlessly endangers our troops. It must be discontued.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Former Pedro CC · 8 years ago
    Sadly, this has happened many times. I agree that Pavehawk capes are needed, but just ripping off crosses, putting guns on MEDEVAC won't fix it. Pavehawk crews have guns and FLIR, but MOST importantly they are trained in both recoveries and to shoot in support. The training required to develop these skills is huge. MEDEVAC is trained for most of the missions that they are asked to do, not for opposed/adverse weather CASEVAC. The question is why C2 can't see the difference in missions/capability and without delay, task the right platform? The fault lies with both Army and AF. Finally, the HH-60G fleet has the highest optempo of any helicopter force in DoD for many, many years. Their availability is in the crapper and the AF can't seem to get out of its own way in providing replacement aircraft. You're right, its a damned shame this soldier, along with many others, have died, while we flail. Answer is MORE Pedros ASAP.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      PJ · 8 years ago
      Well said Sir! - PJ
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Active PEDRO · 8 years ago
      well i agree with you...AF give us new helicopters, NOW
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Colin · 8 years ago
      I think that still leaves the operational problem Micheal referred too. As I understand the Pedros were available but the chain of command prevented them from lifting off.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jonathan Colwell · 8 years ago
    GOD BLESS, good pictures on this site.

    find a church: http://www.apostolic-churches.com/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ron · 8 years ago
    Result of a shitty situation. I hope it gets cleared up. Soon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lawrence L. Barker J · 8 years ago
    If we as a country cannot or will not commit the resources necessary to wage the war properly (overwhelming superiority), we should NEVER have committed to it in the first place. Did our leaders really not learn anything from Vietnam?

    WTF?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John S · 8 years ago
    You cannot interchange the CSAR capabilities that the AF brings by simply putting mini-guns on (former) Medevac helicopters. That said, changing the doctrine from the current Medevac concept toward armed personnel recovery would probably provide the Army crews with a lot more ability to get into and out of contested areas without as much outside help. Even armed helicopters can take some pretty serious losses, as we learned in Vietnam. AF CSAR helos are designed to work with A-10s and others to help clear the landing area before the HH-60s pick up the survivors (in the big-picture, according to plan, theory).

    While you don't get CSAR by adding mini-guns, changing tactics by adding a bit more firepower and training with it seems like a good idea to me.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ted · 8 years ago
    Having met you and previously having been a fan I must say I am disappointed in how you approached this subject. There were insensitive details that you provided that can and most likely will upset Spec. Clark's family. I realize you are trying to bring awareness to trouble in the Medical Evacuation process, but the method to which you chose to share this issue was distasteful and unfair.

    Having been the subject of a MEDEVAC and through talking to others, I agree that it is a imperfect situation. However intimate public disclosure of such events will achieve nothing more than painting a vivid picture for the loved ones of Spec. Clark as to how he died.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Active PEDRO · 8 years ago
      well i hope you understand sir, that Mike was there with us (Pedro's) in 2009 and experienced first hand of the bull crap that we go through to get off the ground both ARMY/AF. The point he is trying to make is that the wrong people for the job are making these critical decisions while our boys are in need of help and its articles like these make people open there eyes to the truth. The truth sometimes hurts..
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Janice Stroud · 8 years ago
        Amen, and while I can understand with sympathy the concern many people have expressed about the details and name of the soldier who dies waiting over 60 minutes to be medevaced to the hospital, I have to agree, if this situation is not brought to the attention of someone who can make changes in the procedures followed for rapidly dispatching medevacs or pedros then our injured will continue to suffer and/or die from delay in treatment and that is the real crime. The truth does hurt. The issue is plain, and the fact that the family of Specialist Clark now knows perhaps further details of his suffering is terrible but it is terrible because the procedures in place let it happen not that Michael Yon reported it. Rather than criticizing Michael for how he chose to report, let's all send this dispatch to our congressmen/women.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sharon · 8 years ago
      If it were my son/husband or other family member I would want to know the facts and not have them candy coated like it is usually done by the government. If MY tells it, you can count on it being the truth and not covered up and he gives details, why not, then we know whats really happening. I hate watching all the hidden truths on TV and the one sided news reporting, at least there was one keeping us informed of actual happenings. Michael Yon thumbs up to you and I will stand for you anyday!!!!!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Ted · 8 years ago
        With all due respect Sharon, it wasn't your son/husband and does not mean that Spec. Clark's loved ones feel the same way. If anything MY could have taken the time to contact his family and ask permission, or better yet leave his name completely out of the story. If his family really wanted to know what happened, they could have asked anybody in his Platoon upon return to the states and they would likely oblige to explain in a tasteful manner.

        This is not the type of thing that should being posted and shared for all to see! If the family wanted the world to know they would share it themselves. If anything they have the right to be informed before publication.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Frag Magnet · 8 years ago
          First of all, how do you know that Mr. Yon does not already have the permission of SPC Clark's family to publish this information?

          Second, and much more to the point, SPC Clark's family, comrades, and friends are hurting now and will continue to feel his loss for the remainder of their lives. There is nothing we can do to change that. As much as this may seem like pouring salt into the wound, coming forward with hard facts – dates, places, names – is the only way to put the senior decision makers who are responsible for this travesty into a position that they cannot wiggle out of. The amount of 'extra' emotional pain this family could be experiencing cannot possibly be worth another human life and another grieving family, much less the multitude that we should expect from the continued implementation of bad policies and TTPs.

          If it were simply a matter of a grieving family, I would be 100% with you but unfortunately it's not. This is a matter of life and death.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Michael Yon Author · 7 years ago
      False.

      Chazray's wife and mother have given full blessings. They want me to drive this home.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    No name · 8 years ago
    Every one seems to be missing a couple of critical points here. #1 - MEDEVAC aircraft fall under the Geneva Convention. If we cease to adhere to its guidelines, we become hypocrites, no better than the enemy we are fighting. #2 - If we lose a MEDEVAC aircraft, we lose TWO pilots, a crew chief and a medic, plus the soldier on the ground. Hence, the precaution when sending them into a known enemy area. #3 - Did you know that most MEDEVAC missions to recover CAT A patients arrive on scene in an average of 28 minutes? Probably not, because this article focuses on one situation that was an unfortunate exception to the rule. Perhaps it is time to review our support of the Geneva Convention, but Michael, perhaps you should take that up with the politicians directly, rather than using your access to the military to illustrate your point.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      ssgcmw · 7 years ago
      They aren't missing your "point #1" - MEDEVAC fall under the Geneva Convention because the US Army *chooses* to paint the red cross on them. Since the Taliban don't respect the red cross, what's the point of painting it on and taking weapons off?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Wheeler · 8 years ago
    I understand not wanting to send an unarmed transport (with a big red bullseye on it) into a hot LZ, the part that is unforgivable is the mismanagement of resources, and lack of flexibility that facilitated the death of a man who had a chance at life. WE OWE IT TO THE MAN TO EXPEDITE HIM TO MEDICAL CARE. ***WE OWE IT TO HIM***. It's the least we can do for a volunteer who could have stayed home and covered his vehicle with multi-colored magnetic ribbons and bumper stickers in support.

    Suggestion: Maybe the Pedros and Medevacs should be allowed to fly together when necessary.

    Spec. Chazray Clark is a hero who fulfilled his commitment to my country as far as any man is able. Thank you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    chris · 8 years ago
    If we know a village is vacant WHY are we risking life and limb of our troops (and our allies) instead of just shelling the place then advancing the front further into Talib territory?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Linda · 8 years ago
    whenever will we learn by our mistakes?????????????
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JB · 8 years ago
    Just want to let everyone know that I was there in this situation and it didn’t happen anything like the story says it did.....Most of is facts are wrong at best and some of them are a far far from the facts but he knows that. I glad that someone forward me this story and now I know what he is writing about I think someone needs to launch an investigation into his stories....he came over to get a story and he didn’t get it so he decided to make up facts and some crap to make people look bad. Yes a soldier did die and yes it did take time to get him back to KAF. But MR. Yon never cared to find out why it took so long to get to the LZ. He also forgot to include the fact that another unit at that same time was getting its ass slaughter about 10 miles away and that apache helios were trying to keep those soldiers for being over ran. Oh and finally the best part of all Padero wasn’t on duty that night. In the end the only one that is going to get hurt is the Family.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Carlos · 8 years ago
      Pedro's off duty during combat...in theatre? .....yeah, right! I doubt you have even left stateside "JB".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    redstone · 8 years ago
    I appreciate that you understand and state implicitly this is not a soldier problem, or one of courage. But of politics and political policies that dont allow the most efficient and effective means for protecting our boys in harms way. 30 minutes is far to much time to lose when minutes means life or death.
    The Army seems to know this and does not care to fix it. I agree with your conclusions, something needs to be done and you are doing your part.
    Thank you for sharing a soldiers story, one of courage and sacrifice.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MacvTm19 · 8 years ago
    Evidently Ian has never been in a war zone. The red cross on any of our vehicles was a favorite target of the Viet Cong and the NVA. I am sure with enemy in the middle east nothing has changed !!!!!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Ravi · 8 years ago
      So what happened to the rest of the mission?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 8 years ago
    When the truth is the most painful, is when it is the most needed.Thankfully there are occasions when someone will rise to the occasion and tell the truth anyhow. Michael has repeatedly shown he is willing to be that person. Thanks. As for Chasray's family (my sincerest condolences on the loss of your brave son), I note that there was a significant delay between the first mention of Chazray's death and the release of the entire story. Why are some assuming that Michael was not in contact with the family during this time? Had this been my son, and I was aware that Michael had been there, I would 1) immediately contact Michael to get the truth and the whole truth, and 2) authorize publishing any truth that might lead to better safety for my son's fellow soldiers. Anything less would be disrespectful of his sacrifice and his memory. But that is just me. Apparently there are some readers who would prefer the way the Tillman matter was handled.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      gunther · 8 years ago
      [quote name="John"]When the truth is the most painful, is when it is the most needed.Thankfully there are occasions when someone will rise to the occasion and tell the truth anyhow. Michael has repeatedly shown he is willing to be that person. Thanks. As for Chasray's family (my sincerest condolences on the loss of your brave son), I note that there was a significant delay between the first mention of Chazray's death and the release of the entire story. Why are some assuming that Michael was not in contact with the family during this time? Had this been my son, and I was aware that Michael had been there, I would 1) immediately contact Michael to get the truth and the whole truth, and 2) authorize publishing any truth that might lead to better safety for my son's fellow soldiers. Anything less would be disrespectful of his sacrifice and his memory. But that is just me. Apparently there are some readers who would prefer the way the Tillman matter was handled.[/QUOTE]


      well said!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan Daly · 8 years ago
    Michael,
    As a Marine who has recently returned from Afghanistan, I cannot state stronly enough the importance of this dispatch. We have nickled and dimed this war since day one and good Americans have died as a result. There are simply not enough boots on the ground and helicopters in the air to support the pace of current and/or future combat operations. I know that some are unhappy with the details that you provide in the dispatch and the perceived insensitivity to the good Sgt's family, but if anything positive can come from this needless death - it is that, just maybe, the next one can be avoided.

    Semper Fidelis.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Corey · 8 years ago
    I am disgusted by this territorial BS that still happens in our military. All assets should be on the table when it comes to saving a Warriors life. My heart goes out to the family of Spc. Clark's family who will likely suffer further upon hearing of these details. As painful as it would be, as a Father I would want to know these details so that I could go stand on the desks of my elected representives and look then in the eye and ask them how are they going to fix this.

    Anyone that reads this distpatch should forward it to their representatives and ask when this is going to be fixed....not if!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan · 8 years ago
    Tragic as the death of SPC Clark is, Monday morning quarterbacking the system belies that which it would take to implement your suggested changes - and when Congress is seaking to downsize, one cannot simply "put mini-guns" on Medevacs without increasing personnel, Working to make gunships more readily available so as to NOT delay DUSTOFF lauches will make things better. Compare the number of "Pedros" in theater to the number of DUSTOFF aircraft - big differences - and "Pedro" can't be everywhere because there are too few - I recently returned from an embed with DUSTOFF myself and the commander daily took risks to launch early and be there FAST to save Marine lives... at the risk of his career for pushing his authority to launch ... his pilots also went in when others would not ...
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Steve Adams · 8 years ago
      Monday morning quarterbacking - or fixing problems. . . ?

      "at the risk of his career for pushing his authority to launch" - Why should they have to fear for their career? A good leader should recognize when someone has to appropriately break the rules and even to some degree encourage that.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Dan · 8 years ago
        Steve - rules of engagement and "launch authority" a part of being in command - and when a commander exceeds his launch authority rules based upon the perceived risk that he's presented with the information that comes from the medevac request - he runs the risk of being relieved of command - And, when I refer to "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" - I am referring to offering solutions when not in possession of all of the facts and factors surrounding the situation. Yes, we have to tighten up our processes - not all suggestions are "the right ones."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    J. Griffing · 8 years ago
    As a USAR officer, I find this turf-holding disgusting. It's bad enough when we cannot get anything done or make any progress in garrison because of bureacratic fear of claim-jumping, but as Mike's post demonstrates, in war that gets people killed. Shipped off to eternity before their time like SPC Clark because somebody else couldn't see out his bright brass bellybutton. I have shared this post on Facebook to the entire "U. S. Army" network; if anyone else can ramrod this up to the constellations of Arlington, do so. We need someone with serious flag rank on this, now.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Derek · 8 years ago
      I'm a retired "Pedro". This issue drove us crazy during my multiple deployments to OIF/OEF. We sat many times on the ramp rady to launch, listening to missions that we couldn't take because of the political B.S.. I don't know the Army issues, but I do know that the AF leadership was very reluctant to release us for medevac due to our primary mission of pilot recovery (which rarely happened). All unit level personnel were confident that we could cover both. When the Army became short of medevac assets, we were then also assigned medevac coverage in some cases. I think that was and still is the most rewarding mission we performed. "That Others May Live"
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jay · 8 years ago
    OK hope this is an odd thing cause as a medevac crew chief my pilots have said [removed by webmaster due to profanity] it a few times to get the mission done and taking the ass chewing later. If we ever got a POI call it didn't matter if we had air cover we were off the ground in 15 min. To blame the dust off crew as the title does is just wrong these guys and gals go were few dare to tread. We are on call 24-7 to hell with the red weather this is an article written about my plt

    [URL- removed by webmaster]

    SPC Scott C Co 3/126 avn AA Witch Doctors
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Dan · 8 years ago
      Amen - Jay - you guys are great! And Mike DID say it was NOT about the DUSTOFF crews who will launch into the teeth of the battle - it is about the surrounding support structure of attack helicopters - while embedded with another DUSTOFF unit we had to orbit for a while waiting for the Cobras to catch up - we had outrun them - and they launched when we launched - it was not as serious as this mission - but those events do occur. Stay the course - we all know of the Witch Doctors and their great track record in combat! DUSTOFF!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      jimmy · 8 years ago
      hmm repost the link effing yon deletes the link .. like always when sum1 had a good argument
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matthew · 8 years ago
    For all the people that have stated what Michael wrote is / can be insensitive to Spc. Clark's family, let me give you my perspective having gone through loosing a brother in that Arghandab River Valley. There was an NPR reporter with my brother's company the day he was killed. He responded to the attack along with the First Sergeant and an element from the company. His pictures ran the length of troops in action against the ambush, to the pictures of the two wounded getting medevac'ed (thankfully, in time), to the wreckage of the Stryker in the immense crater, and to the pictures of two body bags containing what remained on this Earth of my brother and his good friend. These were incredibly hard to see, gave way to a whole lot of crying and heart ache, yet at the same time, was far more information on what happened to Aaron than the Army ever provided.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Matthew · 8 years ago
      It was a sort of closure, it was healing in that we knew his brothers in arms were with him and did their absolute best that day. I cannot speak for all Gold Star families nor especially for Chazray's family. All I can say is in my case, a story much like this did help with coming to terms with my brother's death. A few weeks after he died, Michael embedded with his company and gave us so many stories of what they did afterward, which was also very helpful. I thank God for his reporting and am grateful for people like him that put the truth out there!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Geoff · 8 years ago
      I'm sorry for your loss and understand your desire to have information about what happened that day. There is, however, a flip side. In Nov. '04, Fallujah Iraq, a Marine Squad Leader ( call him Cpl...rank changed to disquise the incident) was killed while rescuing pinned down marines. A combat photographer was on the scene, in the room where the Cpl was killed. One photo shows the lower half of the Cpl's body, on the floor, in a large puddle of blood, while marines in the room continue the fight. The Cpl had poked his head around a corner(something he was trained never to do) and took a round in the head, dying instantly, becoming the only KIA in the enemy kill house.

      The brother of that Cpl found out I had copies of the photos and asked me to send them to him and tell him what happened, assuming I knew as I received the photos from the leader of the rescue.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Skeej · 8 years ago
    Bravo Zulu Mr Yon.
    Donation made, Congressman contacted.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan · 8 years ago
    Just because one's solution has not been adopted does NOT mean that "T.H.E. Army" does not care - there are many people who work hard everyday to make response times shorter - and provide resources to make that happen - I applaude Mike for pointing out this failure to save a Soldier's life - yet, his conclusions are NOT necessarily the right ones, nor are they able to be supported with the force structure in theater now - now can one simply say that's the best solution when one seeks to implement it Force-wide. We can do better - no doubt.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Jim Waite · 8 years ago
      Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces, Active, Reserve or Guard, knows all to well how difficult it is to change Pentagon, or close to it, level doctrine. That said, and freely acknowledging that I am [B]NOT[/B] the kind of person who justifies with the "if it saves one life" brand of red herring 'logic', the Medevac policy that failed to provide the best chance for Specialist Chazray to survive his wounds is clearly in need of change. But the reality of not only the age old turf wars between the Services, but the Geo-Political issues involved make for an even slower and more conflicted process then usual.
      That said, the need for change in the policies that govern hot LZ Medevac's is too obvious to be ignored, OR relegated to the 'HIGHER HQ will eventually fix it" bin.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Jim Waite · 8 years ago
        Part II, because the whole thing was deemed "to long"

        I have no knowledge of combat related medicine, so can't speak to what chances there might have been had Spec Chazray been Medevac'd sooner. But [b]knowing[/b] that his case was not the first, and will not be the last, there should be people screaming to get the "powers that be" to change whatever part of the ROE that prevent timely evacuation of wounded warriors from the battlefield.
        Anything less is willful condemnation of troops to unnecessary consequences.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      withheld · 8 years ago
      The AMEDD is so entrenched in the mindset that "they are special". Despite years of recommendations from the cadre at JRTC they continued to refuse to give Combat Support Hospitals SAWs for peremeter defense becasue that would "violate the geneva convention" (according the the AMEDD JAG). Funny how the Infantry Division JAGs thought differently (and that 2-star paid out of his Division's pocket to buy them before going to GWOT). Lets not forget we are not at war with Germany or England. If anyone actually reads the convention, all you would give up by arming the MEDEVAC is the protection from being shot at (worthless) and the "protected status" if captured (really worthless).

      I have been an AMEDD officer for 13 years, I side with Mr Yon's view.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        SFC Earnán M Ret · 7 years ago
        It is nothing short of institutional insanity.

        We have spent the last ten years fighting people who completely REJECT the very notion of the Geneva Convention, who routinely murder prisoners and protected persons, fire on vehicles and buildings with GC markings and otherwise methodically violate the Laws of War and the Geneva Conventions at every opportunity.

        And we're worried about putting a couple of M240s on MEDEVAC ships because they have red crosses applied? Then let's remove those big ever-so-useful aiming points, mount the guns and start doing what needs to be done in a timely fashion.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian · 8 years ago
    I have forwarded my concerns and a link to this post to both my senators and representative. Thank you for reporting. I can only hope this gains national attention.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SFCAdams · 8 years ago
    As a retired Soldier and Medic I still hold the conviction generated by my 25 years of Army Medical Department service that Medical Service Corps (MSC) = Miscellaneous Surplus Clowns! Many of these officers are inept horse holders for the Army physicians who don't want to be bothered with "Army" responsibilities!The self-crucifixtion of going unarmed to respect rules that no one else plays by is an exercise in fatuity that as documented has and is costing lives!!!It seems to me that troops in contact with casualties should go to the top of priorities for aviation support. But again we can look at what resulted in SGT Dakota Myers receiving the MOH to see how the TOC Warriors and Fobbits run the fight while those at the tip of the spear suffer!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      c · 7 years ago
      That is so well said!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gismofly · 8 years ago
    Total sympathy and affection. Your loss is our loss. I hope to God that the brass are sensible enough and flexible enough to learn from this and apply the solution. Keep shovelling Michael.

    Regards,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nate Brookshire · 8 years ago
    Mike,

    Thought of you after reading the following Blog by Isaac Cubillos.

    What is the Highest Duty of a Reporter?

    http://lanterloon.com/?p=839#.TpqxDMJjb7E.facebook

    Followed you since 2004... for some reason the "debate" is just too much, and not sure if I agree with your assessment.

    I could argue both sides of the coin, what I am having trouble with... is the approach.

    Of course, time, distance and perspective are all factors.

    Stay safe.

    Nate

    P.S. I know you don't consider yourself a reporter, but I would be very interested in the opinions of fellow MY readers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Miami Phillips · 8 years ago
    Awful. We work with the soldiers when they come back. We train and give dogs for PTSD and TBI. I don't know how all who go through this don't have it.

    Help Michael. Then help us help them. Donate or join a raffle please. paws4vets foundation helpkyria.com
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol-CS · 8 years ago
    I've stated this many times before-
    PC is getting our BEST killed...
    Carol-Christian Soldier

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