Michael's Dispatches

British Officer Slams US Army on Growing MEDEVAC Debacle

28 January 2012

While reading traffic in a closed forum between current and former military officers, I stumbled across this message from a British officer.  I’ve known him since the Iraq days, and he’s also served in Afghanistan.  He’s an honest and very smart officer, and so I pay close attention to him.  With his permission, I reprint:

Message from British officer

I've been following Michael's work for years and I watched that painful video some while ago.

Michael makes a perfectly valid, arguably indisputable point that, in some circumstances, US Army MEDEVAC policy can delay the movement of casualties to hospital. The fact that the Golden Hour can still be met in most cases is immaterial. If we could make it work, we'd want a Platinum 30 Minutes as we all know that a few minutes can make the difference between life and death. Accordingly, there should be a continuous effort to shave extra minutes off of the time it takes to reach the wounded and what is proposed by Michael will often do just that.

The arguments presented by the US Army for why a change is not necessary are unconvincing, in fact in parts they seem somewhat fictive. I just hope there aren't people out there telling their boss what they think he wants to hear when they know differently in their hearts.

Therefore - and as a British Army officer I do think carefully about criticizing an organization I admire in many ways - my opinion is that there should be a quick meal of humble pie at the upper levels of the US Army and a change to match the USAF and RAF methods which do not mark MEDEVAC aircraft and do arm them. Saying "We were wrong" need bring no shame, it would be a fine example of leadership that would be respected within the Army itself and wider - and it'll likely save a few lives.

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