Michael's Dispatches

Dustoff Traction

27 October 2011

The plight of unarmed Army Dustoff helicopters is reaching many ears.  Yesterday, someone at a major newspaper asked me to write an Op-ed, and there are many other elements of progress in raising awareness.  After we raise awareness, the time will be ripe for change.

Please see this letter from Congressman John Shimkus:

October 26, 2011

Mr. Jeff @@@
Edwardsville, IL

Dear Mr. @@@:

Thank you for contacting me regarding medevac flights in Afghanistan.  I appreciate hearing about the issues that are important to you.

The safe and timely evacuation of our wounded troops from the battlefield and to high quality medical facilities should always be a priority for our armed forces. Please be asssured that I will monitor this situation at the Department of Defense.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  To stay informed on other important issues, I encourage you to sign up for my weekly electronic newsletter at shimkus.house.gov.


Member of Congress



# Mustafa KAZEMI 2011-10-27 02:00
He did a good job contacting the congressman -- but I wonder why the congressman tells him to sign up for his weekly newsletter? Makes me think.
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# Dan 2011-10-27 03:24
I work with 4-4 Cav daily at Pasab in Zhari District. I'm a stone's throw away from the Dustoff and it's escort. No matter what the congressman says, it's good that he is being told about this. Something good can come out of this and that is my hope. I've watched the Dustoff launch 4 times a day. I want all of them to have every advantage they can get.
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+1 # Jeff in Edwardsville 2011-10-27 05:41
It is because he wants all his constituents to know what he is doing as well as what is going on in the House during the week. It is a standard signoff for his letters to make sure people stay informed. The funny part is that I already subscribe to it.... (Yes, I am the one who wrote him...) I'm just hoping it does some good...
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+1 # Lynda 2011-10-27 11:39
I hope it does some good, too, Jeff.I wish he had used more proactive language than just saying he would "monitor" the situation. Our men are dying while powerful people monitor the situation. They need to quit monitoring and take action!
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# dd 2011-10-27 17:42
Looked more like a well deserved but respectful FU and go away MY to me.
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# Raine Walker 2011-10-27 02:04
Because it was probably written by the Congressman's aide...
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-1 # Online Shopping 2011-10-27 02:29
The safe and timely evacuation of our wounded troops Online Shopping from the battlefield and to high quality medical facilities..
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# Chris 2011-10-27 10:52
They all ask you to sign up for their newsletter regardless of the reason you wrote or e-mailed them. It means nothing special other than a PR thing.
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# Jeff in Edwardsville 2011-10-27 13:48
FYI- I know John and he is a good man whom I trust. He is a West Point graduate and is serious about anything related to the military.
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# Charles 2011-10-27 15:30

I don't know if you get time to read these comments but...

This is brilliant. What you have done off your own back is truly exceptional.

I still just don't understand the purpose of foot patrols into villages riddled with IEDs.

There seems to be little downside to local people in planting these devices. If they don't plant them, the Taliban may kill them. If the plant them and our guys get killed, nothing happens to them. How do we win against that?
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# Paul 2011-10-27 18:56
Hi Mike, found this one today, thought he could have mentioned you a the sole source of all that very important chatter...
Best luck to you and keep up your fantastic work.
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# Levin Tull 2011-10-29 22:03
I went to his feedback page and asked him to give credit to Michael Yon, and put the link in my feedback. We'll see if he is honorable or not.
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+2 # Lee 2011-10-28 08:40
Let's see.... Get approval, develope SOP, train up to standards, deploy to actual combat units...... 2 years? Dear God let's hope not business as usual for a lifesaving program change.
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# camocowboy777 2011-10-28 08:59
The sad part is that you and I know that it will be business as usual. Which, is better than nothing. It still amazes me that it takes literally an act of Congress to change an ignorant and long standing policy like this.
As a Navy Vet, I have seen some nonsense before but this Dustoff policy takes the cake.
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# annie&neatie 2011-10-28 10:27
A form letter that means nothing. I recognize them...I've gotten a hundred of them. As useless as junk mail. They adapt them to whatever you've written them about. They only care about getting re-elected and their own power. Things are not like they used to be when these people actually represented you. Hope I'm wrong but all the the signs point to this. You can call them all and at least talk to an office flacky whom you might convince of your concern...excep t for Senator McCain who will give you a recorder to give your message to.. and you won't even get a form letter then in reply. Have your points ready and don't let them brush you off with polite conversation. I hope your readers don't give up. I haven't...that' s why I know how the system now works. Mention next years elections and you might get a little more attention paid to your concerns. In other words play hardball...and don't let them snow you.
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+1 # Martha Brown 2011-10-28 11:02
I am not a college educated woman, BUT , I can figure out that the politicians who are in office and caused all these problems are not the ones who will be solving them. I'm still waiting for some STAND UP MEN to start solving them.
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# neats 2011-10-28 11:04
Here's a suggestion. If everyone would write a short email to Brian at Fox and Friends (Fox News) at
telling your concerns about this military problem in Afghanistan it might get some attention. Volume of email is the secrect. I'm sending mine today. I hope others of you will follow. We can't give up. It's one more outlet that might work.
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# Mike T 2011-10-28 13:11
Congress did not cause this - Air Force dustoffs are armed - this is an Army issue - will be in DC next week - will mention it to anyone there that cares to listen
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# A&N 2011-10-28 14:49
They seemed to have plenty to say about water boarding and reading terrorists their rights when taken prisioners. I guess you are right...it depends on if the terrorists are complaining to them or we American citizens are complaining to them. I seem to remember a Senator helping out a certain photographer in Iraq when the Military told him he couldn't do something...Gue ss it is selective what the Congress can do. If you want to get down where the rubber meets the road it is the president who is commander and chief....We all know he cares. Maybe someone who knows him should speak to him on this matter...no doubt it will get remedied immediately ...like...do it now!!
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# Joann B 2011-10-28 15:16
Keep applying pressure to your Congress critters folks. In my own experience: Contacting them daily it takes approximately two weeks before anybody responds, and then within the next few months you'll see somebody up there talk to a reporter. This is too slow, yes, squeeky (sp?) wheel gets the grease ! Michael, we're working on it!!
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# Alan Johnson 2011-10-28 18:41
Michael, keep it up, they will not have a choice but to listen when enough people from a lot of different directions are telling them the same thing, "fix the stupid." keep up the good fight!
Gonna throw something in the tip jar, alt, hope people understand that you are over there on your own dime.
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# Dusty 2011-10-31 10:20
Michael - There are a lot of layers of truth to this issue that you have yet to understand. The truth is not in the crosses or lack of guns on an aircraft, but in the approval process used to launch any MEDEVAC (not just Dustoff or Pedro). The truth is in the force structure and personnel caps at the service and DoD levels. The truth is not in Medical officers, but in not allowing trained and experienced leaders to make immediate decisions despite JCoS and Army CoS orders to the contrary. The truth is in those who have been stifled by senior leaders. The tentacles of agenda are intertwined within the MEDEVAC mission by sister services, coalition partners, and senior leaders who wish to champion their cause, all in the name of claiming to simply want to save lives. The crime is that they feed on the cost of those who need it the most.

You have only scratched the surface.
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# blue 2011-11-02 00:00
Why are you making unsubstantiated murder charges against US Special Forces soldiers?

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# shoponlinemy 2011-11-04 03:29
Volume of email is the secrect. I'm sending mine today. I hope others of you will follow. We can't give up. It's one more outlet that might work.Cheap Dresses ...
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