Michael's Dispatches

Fool’s Gold & Troops’ Blood

America's Medevac Failure

06 November 2011

This combat video was made in September 2011 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.  A bomb was planted in our path.  A young, highly-liked Soldier named Chazray Clark triggered the blast.  Chazray lost an arm and both legs.  Despite great pain, Chazray was awake and lucid the entire time.

A tragedy was unfolding.  The US military, at the direction of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, strives to get our wounded to hospitals within the “Golden Hour.”  The military mostly accomplishes this with incredible speed, often under direct enemy fire.   They could do much better.

After casualties are sustained, the medical evacuation helicopters typically will not launch until a “9-line” report is transmitted from the field.  During this mission, due to the calm discipline of the Soldiers of 4-4 Cav, the 9-line was transmitted in only six minutes.  That’s fast.

Bold accounting magic has been used to redefine the Golden Hour.  The true starting gun for the biological Golden Hour begins at the moment of injury.  The military Golden Hour begins after the 9-line is received.  If combat or other circumstance delays the 9-line by 20 minutes, the military Golden Hour becomes 80 minutes.  But when we hear a military spokesmen saying that average MEDEVAC times are 50 minutes, what they are really saying is 50 minutes plus the 9-line time, and they won’t mention that 9-line buffer.  This audacious deception angers many military people who know about it.

I reported that 65 minutes were used to get Chazray Clark to the hospital.  The military rebuked my initial report, saying it took only 59.  They took the Golden Hour tax deduction, deceived the public, and did so in writing.

It took 65 minutes.  It should have taken 25.   There are several reasons why Chazray suffered the additional 40 minutes.

The first reason is the 9-line.  Pilots in Afghanistan say there is no need to wait.  They should launch immediately upon notification of serious wounds.  They can pick up the 9-line in flight.

The bigger reason is a longstanding Army policy to wear Red Crosses on their helicopters.  The Army will say that in accordance with the Geneva Conventions they must wear the Red Crosses, and therefore cannot carry machine guns on the helicopters.  This is false: neither the Air Force, nor the Marines, nor British wear the Red Crosses, and they go armed.  The enemies in Afghanistan do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions.  Is the Army saying that the Air Force, Marines and British are in violation of Geneva Conventions by not wearing the Red Crosses?  Of course not.  But the Army wears the Red Crosses as crucifixes to avoid uncomfortable change.

The helicopters are clearly visible on most nights while the Red Crosses are not.  An Afghan said that Taliban would likely consider the Red Cross a sign of Christianity, not MEDEVAC.   The enemy constantly tries to shoot down Army Dustoffs, Red Cross and all.  By contrast, the Air Force and Marines play smarter games and will come in guns blazing and help kill enemy around the landing zones.

While Chazray lay dying, an unarmed Dustoff helicopter was parked about 2 – 3 minutes away at Forward Operating Base Pasab.  After a call, it can take about 7 minutes to launch a Dustoff.  And so, 7 minutes plus 3 minutes’ flight could have had Chazray on the bird in just over 10 minutes.  The hospital was at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) about 13 minutes away.  So 10 minutes to arrive to the LZ, 2 minutes to load Chazray and take off, then 13 minutes to the hospital.  This would have put Chazray at the hospital in 25 minutes.  Alternatively, armed Air Force Pedro rescue birds were parked farther away at KAF and could have flown the longer distance, picked up Chazray, and had him back in about 35 minutes.  Had Pedros or armed Dustoffs been at FOB Pasab, they could have done the job in 25 minutes.

Instead, since the Dustoffs do not have machine guns, the Dustoff waited for the Apache helicopter top cover.  Forty minutes were lost due to 9-line procedures and waiting for the Apache.   This delay allowed the life to drain out of Chazray.  It also allowed the enemy a great amount of time to prepare to attack the unarmed Dustoff helicopter on the open landing zone, along with the Soldiers who were there in the open working hard to save Chazray.  (In this case, no attack occurred during LZ operations.)

The military spent much energy refuting my claims in RED AIR and GOLDEN SECONDS.   They apparently did not realize I made video.  For instance, they tried to undercut the credibility of my reports by saying the Dustoff did not come from Kandahar Airfield, but from FOB Pasab.  The video clearly shows on numerous occasions that the Dustoff was coming from KAF.  Nevertheless, allowing for battlefield errors, if the Dustoff actually came from Pasab, this does not help their case, but damages it outright.  KAF is about 13 minutes away; Pasab only about 3, and so what they accidentally said by trying to undermine my reports was that Chazray could have been to the hospital 10 minutes faster.  That is, if the Dustoffs were armed and could depart without gunship cover.

The 9-line procedure must be changed, and Dustoffs must be armed.  The “Military Golden Hour” must become a thing of the past.  There is only one Golden Hour.  All else is Fool’s Gold.  This Fool’s Gold is expensive; it’s costing lives of our service members in Afghanistan.

Please watch this important video of the attack and MEDEVAC of Chazray Clark.

Further Reading:



+10 # RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodJon 2011-11-06 07:57
Holy smoke's WTF took them so damn long?

If the USAF and the Marines do not wear the Red Cross on their MEDAVAC birds then why in the hell does the US Army?

Something isn't right about this.Politics has no place in getting to our troops who are injured!
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+2 # Doc 2011-11-06 09:52
We had quicker response times during the Korean War! I was a corpsman with the Marines and our choppers came in unarmed and quickly! This is the old Army game of not inconveniencing any field grade officers! Nothing new there!
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# false informationmedic 01 2012-04-16 14:56
First off as a dustoff crewmember I find this appaling, second you don't know what happened that day. All any of you are aware of is this video, you do not know what type of intel brief was recieved by the medevac. Also the air force, and marines do not provide MEDEVAC, they provide CASEVAC meaning no true medic is onboard that aircraft. the army and DUSTOFF are the only true air MEDEVAC in iraq or afghanistan and while some units get between 12-24 months between deployments these DUSTOFF units only get about 9 months due to the shortage of units and aircraft. so before you attack DUSTOFF just remember that while it may not be a perfect system it is still the best one out there and available to our fighting forces. to Mr. Yon, you should be ashamed of yourself for attacking such a sacred and unselfish group of people. We go where nobody else wants to without weapons and sometimes with out that "apache over top". while i am sorry for your friend that doesnt discount what DUSTOFF provides on a daily basis. That is a greater chance for our war fighters. DUSTOFF- Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces.
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# Medic 1 makes false and dubious claimsMichael Yon author 2012-04-16 15:08
Medic 1 made so many thought and factual errors that it's best to focus on just one to debunk the rest. Medic 1 states that no true medic is aboard Air Force. In fact, the multiple typically more highly trained medics on Pedro birds both outnumber and are better trained than most Dustoff medics. Medic 1 also displays a misawareness of what other assets are doing in Afghanistan.

This is not the best forum in which to play righteous.
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+9 # RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodDawgit 2011-11-06 08:11
That's a hard vid. to sit through.
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+1 # DawgitRussell 2012-06-27 04:03
Yeah man, its harder actually being there having to sit through that situation.
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+9 # RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodBen Bell 2011-11-06 08:41
Michael , THANK YOU for your incredible work . You truly are the 21st century Ernie Pyle when it comes to reporting from the soldier's p.o.v. . Thank you for bringing what is really happening to those who wish to know the truth . The video was absolutely gut wrenching and absolutely necessary. Stay safe and keeping fighting the good fight !!
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+7 # RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodEric 2011-11-06 09:04
I am glad you are there to document this. I wish I would have been there that night. I know that had PEDRO been assigned we would have been there and saved his life. I am not Monday morning quarterbacking, and this has nothing to do with the DUSTOFF crews. I have much respect for the DUSTOFF crews. I understand that their hands are being tied...cont.
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+3 # Michael Yon 2011-11-06 09:11
Eric -- I also wish Pedros were launched. I love the DUSTOFF folks. They are incredible like Pedros. Policy is holding them back.
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+4 # RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodM.Keele 2011-11-06 10:44
Well said! He missed his Golden Hour because of red tape. Now I wonder how many more this has happened to.
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+2 # Eric 2011-11-06 09:21
It is important to note that even when there is top cover, it is for a single DUSTOFF asset. When PEDRO launches, not only do we have extremely capable guns (and tactics for employing those weapons), we more medical coverage. We have medical personnel on both aircraft that allow more hands per patient. I have seen too many times where the DUSTOFF crews have to triage those they can save and those they are going to let die. They put the expectant on the cover bird, and then still have to deal with the others with the one medic on the DUSTOFF bird. I have had to sit in ops and just watch this happen over MiRC, just wishing they would give us the call.
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+5 # Debra AU 2011-11-06 09:27
This is a travesty... that the very people who make the decision to send these young men and women to war, would not choose to examine the reality of the support necessary to provide them assistance if they are hurt. It is so, very, very wrong that this is able to happen. I not only feel for the loved ones of Chazray Clark, but for everyone one of those men and women who had to stand by and wait for the help to come for him... and too late, and therefore in vain :sad:
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+7 # Kimberly Jones 2011-11-06 09:43
As the Mother of a U.S. soldier heavily engaged in combat in Afghanistan, I am outraged. This is family and loved ones worst nightmare. Thank you Michael for capturing on video. I pray this is replayed so many times that those responsible will feel the heat. This is unfair and the military does not have our beloved soldiers best interest in mind at all. I am absolutely sick and more disenchanted than ever. If the military cares no more for a life than this, bring my son and ALL of the HOME!
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+3 # Eric 2011-11-06 09:44
Most importantly note that while arming DUSTOFF is vital, it is going to take a long time before they have the tactics and training required to execute that part of the mission effectively. The longer Army Leadership sucks their thumbs, the longer this whole process is going to take, and the more lives it is going to cost.
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+3 # D.Peterson 2011-11-06 09:47
Michael.......I am unable to view the video on either site. It's like it's been digitally scrambled. I can hear everything and, occasionally, a clear picture but then it scrambles again. Also, when I have tried emailing this information to my representatives ..........it won't go through. A few Dem's and a few Republican's. It's almost as if....mention Michael Yon and my emails are blocked! Anyone else having this issue?

Blessings to you for all your hard work! You are the best thing our troops have going for them!
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# Michael Yon 2011-11-06 11:08
Sorry about that! Is it working now?
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# Leslie M. Payne 2013-10-04 17:13
no, no problems at all viewing Michael's videos
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+1 # DUSTOFF Crew ret 2011-11-06 10:07
Eric, The Pedro's are outstanding as are the Dustoff guys, This is a political issue. I flew hundreds of missions in Iraq and we launched within minutes of the 9 line receipt. Your very loose description of the DUSTOFF crews does piss me off because most all of my crews were just as trained (Paramedic Level or higher)as the Pedro's. Many times if the 9 line indicated more than a couple patient's we would add more crews to the bird. Many of our DUSTOFF crews are duel trained and the crew chief was an EMT also.

This is not a DUSTOFF crew problem, it is a leadership problem. Could armed DUSTOFF help? Yes, but I say let the DUSTOFF do what it has done for years and fly. We know the risks and we save lives.
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+1 # Eric 2011-11-06 10:43
I am definitely not trying to piss you off, but I believe there is a clear difference between the two. PEDRO will always have more medical capability per aircraft with the current configuration. Having a crew chief that is an EMT is awesome, but it is not comparable to three PJs per aircraft as is the standard load-out.

It may be a loose description, but I have personally seen it with my own eyes. I don't want to broadcast the full events due to OPSEC.

I have nothing but respect for DUSTOFF crews (pilots and medics)...as you said, it is not a DUSTOFF problem, it is a leadership problem. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to go and not being given the mission.
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+1 # DUSTOFF Crew ret 2011-11-06 14:21
There is alway 2 sides to a coin. I have extreme respect for the Pedro's. But, every mission has it's issues. I have personally flown on a MEDEVAC that the PEDRO could not get the mission done, because the AF overloads the Hawk with way to much gear. So in the end our old UH60 Alpha slick hawk, did the mission at the high alt because the PEDRO way to heavy. Life saved - Pedro RTB empty.

This is a policy issue not a PEDRO vs Army Dustoff Issue.
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+5 # DUSTOFF Crew ret 2011-11-06 10:18
Again this is a Leadership and Political issue that is the problem NOT DUSTOFF!! Having flown as a Flight Medic for +20 years I know this....

This video pissed me off because I know how the crew felt waiting for the clearance sitting on the ramp wanting to do its job only to get the "Blessing" and be to late. That Medic and flight crew was as good as any Pedro but was never given the chance.
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+1 # Alex Hatfield 2011-11-06 10:21
After waiting long enough for a MEDEVAC bird IN 2009 that our Kiowa pilots set down to pick the guy up, I wholeheartedly agree with this.
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# Michael Yon 2011-11-06 10:24
Alex -- Stryker Brigade when Soldier lost legs in Arghandab?
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+1 # Alex Hatfield 2011-11-06 10:53
all the guys that were there that day were pissed. I was handling radios in a different area, but I could hear the traffic of what was going on
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# Michael Yon 2011-11-06 10:56
Alex, I was not there but was with Strykers later and heard that story a few times. Credit to the awesome Kiowas. I recall they were not able to get him out despite landing in the middle of the mess. I recall that it was a LT (?) who lost his legs but they could not get him into the seat.
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+2 # Laurie Swierat 2011-11-06 10:27
Great reporting Michael. Well thought out and supported by hard facts. Thank you for going above and beyond to get this out there.

Lets hope the Army steps up and does the right thing now. I have passed it along. The more that know, the more pressure that will be put on the powers that be to fix it. Times have changed. The Army needs to change with them. Sadly, there is no place for the Geneva Convention in this war.
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# Ann 2012-01-08 16:52
Laurie...I am SO glad someone finally said something in regards to the Geneva Convention..It has NO place in this war..Times have changed. The Medevac needs to be armed to protect themselves..So many more lives would and could be saved..Thank you Michael for sharing this video with us..My husband will deploy very soon to Afghanistan. He is a Crew Chief with the Medevac..He is very frustrated with the way things are being handle with the Army. But he and his crew are there to save lives and I am so proud of them.
May God continue to bless these VERY brave men and women fighting for our country and bring them home safe..
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+6 # Sabrina Casanova Brown 2011-11-06 10:40
I'm spitting mad over this policy. We are in a Muslim country, they consider all Christians to be infidels, and what is the symbol of Christianity but the cross? What is an enemy thinking when they shoot at/shoot down one of our medevacs? That they are striking directly at Christianity. Policy needs to be changed. Why is the Army the only one that keeps the red cross on their helicopters. don't spout Geneva conventions at me either - the people don't follow those rules, they are not even an established army, just a bunch of terrorists and fanatics. QUIT PUTTING AMERICAN LIVES IN MORE DANGER!!!!!!
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+4 # Paul Hickman Cpl/USMC 84-88 2011-11-06 10:52
I shared this story and video on a Marine website I belong to, I assure my Congressman will also hear from me as well!
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+3 # Heywood Jablomi 2011-11-06 10:55
Outstanding piece.

How will Army PAO discredit this one?

Army bureaucrats are disgraceful.
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+2 # Doug Hardy 2011-11-06 10:58
Excellent work, Michael. You've provided a lot of options for the military to consider if improving the process is their goal.
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+3 # Brian Jones 2011-11-06 10:59
My hat is off to the DUSTOFF crews and their incredible bravery and skills. Let's hope the politicians and military leadership take some action to allow them to get to where they are needed sooner.
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+2 # Paolo 2011-11-06 11:01
Thanks, Michael.

Now to the Army brass - take action and correct this shameful policy that gets our servicemen killed.
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+4 # Daniel Kronlid 2011-11-06 11:07
I think you should contact 60 Minutes
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+13 # Kevin Bisher 2011-11-06 11:10
Listen up so called policy makers! MY SON IS IN THAT VERY SAME UNIT. Could have just as easily been him that died needlessly. How about we send YOUR sons and daughters to spend a little time with 4-4 Cav. Bet the MEDEVAC policy would change then. Bastards! Get your friggin' heads out of your asses and get ARMED MEDEVACS on site ASAP. Use the Air Force's! Who cares! All that matters is that the patient is EVACed quickly. Secondly, look at ALL OF THE TIME OUR SOLDIERS WERE OUT IN THE WIDE OPEN while they were waiting on the MEDEVAC. Damn lucky they ALL weren't killed.

The Taliban and Al Queda could give a shit less about "Geneva Conventions." Crosses on Helicopters are nothing more than something for them to line their cross-hairs up on.

Gee, do I sound pissed? You're Goddamn right I am. This is outrageous and a brave American Soldier died when he didn't have to.
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-6 # Leanne 2011-11-06 13:26
I'm with you, Kevin. My son is a medic with the 4-4 CAV and was a good friend of SPC Clark. He walked over the same spot Clark did less than 20 seconds before the blast and was blown to his knees, then had to search for and treat the wounded in the aftermath. This type of reporting makes me sick to my stomach. Michael Yon USED to have credibility with me for trying to show the world what is going on in the war zone, but this type of graphic display steps over the line of decency, especially for families of soldiers deployed, and even more for those with the 4-4 CAV. Yon wants to sell his books ...but I won't be buying one.

Michael, when speaking of SPC Clark, please at least give him the respect of using his rank. Remember always ... "Not for themselves...bu t for their country." Show some respect.
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+2 # Gerry 2011-11-06 11:46
Task Org: splitting up aviation assets and attaching them to regional commands. It sounds good on paper and hey, what Lt Col wouldn't want to have "Commanded every aircraft and mission type" on his resume? But Medevac is unlike every other aviation mission; it isn't a deliberate operation, it's reactive. You don't get days to plan; you get the 9-line and go. Line aviation company commanders are Captains; moderate or higher risk missions require Battalion Commander approval. Medevac companies are commanded by Med Corps Majors so missions can be approved quickly; getting helicopters off the ground in 6 minutes or less. But Task Org changes all that. Commanders can withhold mission approval authority for themselves; and they all do. So the Major, who's been trained to make a decision quickly, is superseded by the Lt Col who is used to having all the time in the world. Task Org is costing lives.
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+2 # CJ McCartney 2011-11-06 12:29
I cannot see the video. However, Your reporting has always been spot on, Michael. This issue is a disgrace which could be remedied by the simple fix of removing the cross and arming the crews. What does it take, more lives lost?
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# Web Master 2011-11-06 17:38
Hello, this is Michael's Webmaster. I do apologize for any trouble in viewing the video. If you are still having trouble please send me some specifics about what kind of trouble you are having directly to and I will try to assist you. Most of the time these kinds of problems are caused by outdated video or audio drivers and depending on what browser you are using can be affected by plugins. If you can please list in your email what operating system and browser you are using as well as the version I will try to help resolve the issue.

Thank You
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+2 # Dan 2011-11-06 12:37
Thanks for the up and close Mike. Wow, that is a slow response.
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+9 # Tom 2011-11-06 13:23
Would Joe Biden's son have to wait for a 9 line or would the bird be in the air right away?
Sorry, my mistake. JAG officers are not on patrol.
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+3 # jim 2011-11-06 13:55
as a vietnam veteran, i am outraged. Dustoff crews do a wonderful job as i can attest. the politics is awful!!!!!
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+3 # Staff Sgt Griggs 2011-11-06 14:06
Mike - Stay in the fight. Help is on the way. I have sent this article and the video link to all 500 of my contacts on Facebook encouraging them to share it as well and then contact the Secretary of the Army John McHugh and demand action.
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+1 # George C. 2011-11-06 14:17
Obviously the red crosses only serve as a point of aim in this war, get rid of the red crosses, arm the birds, and get our wounded to treatment much faster. Why is there any opposition to this? Medevac should be standing by and ready to fly the moment a casualty is called in, not following a 9-line, and not awaiting a cover flight!!! Find SOMEBODY with the guts to make a simple change in policy that will save the lives of our troops!!!
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# Josephine 2011-11-06 14:22
I sure hope my country and our soldiers in Afghanistan does not rely on US Medevac in Afghanistan. I know from first hand that they do a great job but really over 50 minutes until arrival is not acceptable.
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# Ann 2012-01-08 17:07
Josephine...The ir hands are tied..Need to read a little bit more about whats being said here. They wait on the tarmac until someone tells them to take off...The US Medevac is AWESOME and you should be proud to know their there helping our wounded. I agree 50 minutes is unacceptable, But look at the circumstance behind it..It was out of their control..Trust me, I'm sure your not the only one pissed off...Think about how the crew must feel when they can't take off.
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+2 # Brian 2011-11-06 14:39
Unbelievable... .. I've already written both my senators and Congressman.
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+3 # DUSTOFF Crew ret 2011-11-06 14:57

We did not ever have this issue before the Army changed things. We did not need guns in the past!

It seems the policy issue changes a year ago when all the AMEDD Aviation assets were transferred form Medical control (AMEDD) and handed over to the Aviation BN control. Before that happened, we never operated under such stupid constraints. This "Change" neutered the Army's MEDAVAC units and made them the "Bastard Children" of the Army's Aviation. The Army aviation BN commanders never liked the Med units but because they were all controlled by AMED they had no say. Lots of history at www.dustoff.org

I experienced this firsthand right as I got ready to retire. In fact this change helped me to decide to retire.
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+2 # Leslie 2011-11-06 15:08
Time needs to be of the essence. And it wasn't. Things need to change. Thanks for the report and the work you do; hope this info gets to the right people who can make the right decisions...
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+3 # shodge 2011-11-06 15:58
This video is so respectfully done. Thank you, Michael for bringing this to light. I hope and pray collectively, by writing to our representatives and getting this message out, this changes for our troops. This must change.
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+10 # Jeff Stidham 2011-11-06 17:09
I've long considered the Red Cross on the sides of ANY combat vehicle to be nothing more than a targeting aid; this was true even back in the Cold War days, when I was stationed near the Fulda Gap, watching the Soviet forces. That the Army continues with this concept in a country where guerrilla warfare was perfected says much about the Army leadership, and none of it good. "Narrow minded" and "hide bound" are the kindest terms that I can think of.

Our military deserves better treatment than this.
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+11 # Mr. Rydén 2011-11-06 17:22
Honestly, when's the last time Red Crosses could actually be counted on for protection? Let's see: Afghanistan, no. The Surge in Iraq, no. The second Gulf war, no. Somalia, no. The first Gulf war, no. The Balkans (forner Yugoslavia), no. The Vietnam war, no. The Korean war, no. The second world war, yes (most of the time on the Western front, never in the Pacific). So concerning the U.S. Army's use of Red Crosses, it hasn't worked since WW2, and they are still used. It would be like still using rifles, SMGs, steel helmets and no flak vests. The last time it worked to a viable extent was 76 years ago, and it seems that the U.S. Army is equally surprised every time it doesn't. I mean, why else would they not do something about it?
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+2 # 19k20 2011-11-06 17:29
Great work Michael. Leadership often forgets the cost of inaction or ineffective policy. I'll be doing my part to spread the message.
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+2 # Ann Golden 2011-11-06 17:30
Our troops sacrifice a great deal for us. This is brutal. I'll get busy. Thank you Mike.
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+3 # Army Mom 2011-11-06 17:36
Senator Cornyn's office has been contacted.
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-4 # Brad Bonds 2011-11-06 18:00
Before they had even finally got him into a place to give him life-saving medical care, was anyone there to hold his one hand and kiss his face and tell him we are terribly hurt, and sad, and sorry that we let one of our mothers' children lie alone in pain, and grief, and despair as he died. He's dead. Dead. Is there such a thing in the UCMJ as criminally negligent homicide, with regard to the knowing perpetuators of a deadly broken system? If it happens again, it will be purposeful, in light of the knowledge made light to the people by your hand to paper and eye to film. And if purposeful, would it be murder? I hope you will tell us who heads up your committee to petition for the highest medal in the land for you one day, as soon as timely, so we can lend our support as well.
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+2 # Ellie 2011-11-06 18:37
DADT was changed due to what is supposedly fair, just, and sensitive feelings, but this policy can't be changed? One that actually makes a difference in saving lives?
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# Michael Yon 2011-11-06 20:10
Please sign the White House petition to arm Dustoff Helicopters:

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# Janice Stroud 2011-11-07 06:58
I hope everyone signs this petition who follows you Michael.. I know I did and posted the link on facebook and urged my family and friends to sign too. Once again, great reporting and I hope our new Secretary of Defense hears these words and forces the necessary changes.
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+3 # Linda 2011-11-06 21:44
This is unbelievable. A total pencil neck [removed due to profanity]by idiots who make policy and should know better. Mike Rogers you have told me personally you have tremendous respect for our soldiers so prove it. Get off your butt and use your position on the House Armed Services Committee to actually make a difference and do something about this situation. I'm also calling out Jeff Sessions & Saxby Chambliss from the Senate Armed Services Committee. Same comments as above. Get off your suited butts and do something. Pentagon gets irate calls from Congressmen & Senators on the Armed Services Committe they will not ignore. Do your promises mean nothing? I'm sick of you all pretending to care yet not doing a damn thing. To the staffers and aides who WANT to do something and actually DO care. Sorry guys this was not directed at you. Take the red crosses off and arm them & get them off the freaking ground as soon as a call comes in.
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+1 # Sarg 2011-11-07 01:46
A 9 line message? What BS. In Vietnam, we were all encouraged to memorize the dust off freq which never changed. Anybody could call a dust off. No BS. No chain of command. No check lists. You called, they showed up.
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# MSgt Rose 2011-11-07 02:02
For the uninformed, and those who have been away from the military for awhile, a 9 line is essentially a report that tells the controller how many casualties you have, what their status is, where you are and what the status of the LZ is. Vital info, there is justa formal name for it now.
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# Alex 2011-11-08 10:10
In a single casualty situation the 9-line isn't difficult. All soldiers are trained on the task. In theater some of the lines are SOP and others would be predetermined before the mission. It isn't like the leadership had to write an operations order. Like Michael sais, the 9-line got out about as quickly as possible and in this case taking down to just the first two lines maybe accounted for a couple of minutes at most....not that if the unit was up to snuff on the procedure.
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# MikeM 2011-11-07 05:11
I can't say this enough times on any of these threads: Nobody in the aviation unit is waiting on an entire 9-line.... We ARE waiting on the imperative parts; i.e. WHERE YOU'RE AT, AND STATUS OF THE PATIENT. Hard to launch when you don't even know where in the hell you're going. Often times the supported unit can't even get the grid right and then wonder why the medevac is late. If the 9-line holds things up it's on the supported unit's people, not the aviation unit. That wasn't the case here but that keeps getting thrown around.

I've said in other threads on this site, Michael's main target is the correct one. Too many times a med bird had to sit on the tarmac ready to roll while an apache keeps breaking (they're very high maintenance) or has to be refueled after being pulled from another mission for this.
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+1 # Michael Yon 2011-11-07 05:22
MikeM --

Thank you for helping me help you. (After all, you might be picking up one of my buddies any day.)

Some do wait for 9-lines, though I have heard many times that others launch on partials, as you say. A Dustoff pilot told me that it often depends on the courage of the person who issues the launch order. I know for a fact it doesn't rest on the courage of Dustoff crews. Everyone knows that Dustoff men and women would fly into hell without being ordered to.
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# MikeM 2011-11-07 07:18
"A Dustoff pilot told me that it often depends on the courage of the person who issues the launch order."

That's a big one. Often times it's the trust a commander can place in his battle NCO's/CPT's manning the TOC.
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# Sgt Stalker 2011-11-08 10:40
No one on the dustoff bird may have been waiting, but at 4:10 in the video the moron on the other end of the radio said they were waiting on friggin PAPERWORK.
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+10 # Michael Yon 2011-11-07 07:53
Just got word this morning that Congressional Hearings will occur. The Army will be called to answer.
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# Diane 2011-11-07 10:31
Will be keeping a close eye on that Congressional Hearing. I noted in the video it said that this was the 2nd time it took so long for the medevac to land. When was the first time? I know you weren't with the 4-4 Cav when my son-in-law was killed, but Stars & Stripes did an article on the medevac team that took heavy fire and landed within a few feet of him. I'm just curious how long it took for them to get wheels up on his medevac? Please let me know!? God Bless you and KEEP YOU SAFE during your reporting from the front lines. You are our lifeline and information highway from the war to the homefront. I pray for you and all of our children over there fighting this war to come home safe. We want NO MORE of our babies coming home in BOXES. God Bless America.
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+3 # VNAF 2011-11-07 08:19
Let us be honest here. Those responsible should be relieved and court marshaled!
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+1 # Ed Maynard 2011-11-07 09:21
I know that you're gaining traction on this but I've sent an email to Senator Jim DeMint in SC - he's a good guy and should do something - hopefully.
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# Michael Yon 2011-11-07 09:26
Thank you, Ed -- please keep on it. We have our foot in the door but that's all. If there is a response, would greatly appreciate your sending it along for publication.
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+3 # Darren 2011-11-07 10:59
Senator Grassley's office has been notified.
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# Michael Yon 2011-11-07 12:10
Awesome. Please let me know via email any response. Thank you.

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+6 # ronl11 2011-11-07 12:54
This BS didn't happen in Vietnam Yes the medevacs were unarmed...from 159th med, but 25th aviation had our own slicks and have dusted off more than I can count. they were armed, and no targets on the nose and doors. I myself was a gunship CE, and we flew cover for dustoff, but at times if it was to hot for the dustoff we would do it ourselves, be damned to frigging bullets. We took the grunts lives personally. there was nothing, nothing we wouldn't do for them. Now give these damned dustoffs guns, it only makes good common sense, but then that is not in the Army list of requirements.
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+4 # Jim 2011-11-07 13:56
Both of my Texas Senators and my Texas State Representative have been given the link to this. The were all provided the RED AIR link, previously. The three of them normally pay attention to military issues. Let's hope the current policies and procedures get changed soonest.
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+5 # AFVet 2011-11-07 22:03
Thank you, Michael. Keep telling the truth.
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+7 # Will 2011-11-07 23:17
As an Infantry 1LT, my experience in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot tells me that maintaining the Red Cross Emblem on doors and nose is part of the war effort and the American message. That said, I would rather have a 50 in both doors when the LZ is hot or was hot a few minutes ago. In reality, if the enemy has helicopters, then we should keep the Red Cross Emblems on our Medevac birds. If the enemy has no dustoff capability, the message of the Red Cross Emblem is useless, and we should go with Olive Drab and a couple of miniguns.
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# Rudy 2011-11-10 07:41
pc - the undoing of America right before your very eyes
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# BB 2011-11-12 11:49
"When strong actors employ a strategy that ignores restraints of fighting fairly, weak actors are unlikely to win. Reminder, this does not mean debasing our own values and principles, the essence of which we are attempting to defend extend."

(http://smallwarsjournal.com/node/11415 At the end of the text. Almost in the conclusion)
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# MrJs1G 2011-11-18 12:20
My very first time contacting *all* my Congressmen (Representative s *and* Senators). Sadly, only one of them responded -- but it seems like he actually took the time to read the letter. Here's his response:
November 15, 2011

"Dear Joseph:

Thank you for your recent letter to Senator Lee. I know he appreciates hearing from concerned citizens of Utah.

I have the opportunity to meet with the Senator on a regular basis and will discuss your concerns with evacuation policies in Afghanistan with him so he may take your comments into account.

For more on what Senator Lee is working on, please follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/senatormikelee and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SenMikeLee.

Please don't hesitate to contact our office if there is anything we can do to be of assistance. Thank you again for writing.


Peter Blair

Office of Senator Michael S. Lee
(202) 224-5444"
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# Keyko Clark 2011-11-30 23:26
Hello Mr. Yon
My name is Keyko Clark I am SPC. Chazray Clark's mother, I would like for you to contact me at your earlist convience. Here is my email address ###########@### #. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for reporting the truth and not letting the military scare you to silence. Respectfully, Keyko Clark
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+1 # comrade 2011-12-01 02:18

I applaud those guys and their professionalism . I damn near lost it after doing cpr on a comrade for 20 min before he died waiting for a freaking ambulance in Canada. They said it was only 18 minutes.

I am still angry.

It was 10 years ago and I'm still angry.

He was a good cop.

I try and emulate him.

That video reminds me of how angry bean counters really make me.

Thanks for your hard work -keep doing what you are doing.
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# RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodPete 2012-01-13 22:53
Horrified by this. My understanding (not having read everything on the subject) is that if a helicopter / aircraft / ship / vehicle carries the Red Cross, then it cannot be armed, not that you can only use Red Cross marked 'transport' for medevac. So, from the UK perspective, we have fewer resources, whic may be called upon to fulfil a number of roles. Therefore, marking helicopters with Red Crosses would mean that, at other times, they could not be used to transport trooops / supplies around unless the Red Crosses were removed.
Much more straightforward to be able to get Medevac in and out as quickly as possible. If the will is there from the crews involved to use unmarked helicopters then it should be so.
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# Observations from Dustoff PilotMichael Yon Author 2012-01-26 05:36
Interesting observations here from a Dustoff Pilot:

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# Mike's Army buddyDan 2012-02-07 17:08

15 minutes ago, FOX news had about a 5-10 minute segment on Army Medevac. During the positive interview with Todd Aiken, R-MO, House Armed Services Committee, your picture was flashed up, Chazray Clark's photo was flashed up, and segments of your night time video of the Medevac process from when Chazray lost his life were shown.

It's getting attention over here!!
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# RIP SoldierMatt 2012-02-08 15:49
Thanks for your service.
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# We Miss You ClarkSpc VanHoozen 2012-02-15 03:37
We miss you here at C-co 1-1 BSTB ! You were a damn good soldier and an amazing friend . God Speed Brother .
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# MSG USA Retiredjohn ryan 2012-03-15 19:57
Dear Michael,
I stumbled upon your site two months ago and am very grateful I did. Now I'm able to get the unvarnished truth of whats really happening. I'm a retired old nam combat vet who had a son in the USMC and who did a tour in Afghanistan. He made it out safely and is now home thank God.
I am so sick and tired of being kept in the dark by the traditional nedia and so sick of the spin doctor commentators, politicans, and army brass I could vomit.
This dispatch of yours so incensed me I immediately called Senator Carper's (DE) Washington office and expressed my disgust to a staff member who promised to inform the senator. Well, today, 14 March, I received a written reply from him and he has assured me he will stay on top of this issue. Already he says, 20 fellow senators have notified the Sec Def they are not happy and want the medivacs armed. So, it appears your exposure has opened the door and is reaching out to policy makers. I so dispise the army senior brass who don't have a clue to reality other than what they see in power point presentations. Afghanistan is a lost cause, just like nam was. While in Nam I was on a remote Special Forces A camp on the cambodia border and our mission was to train the locals, run patrols and ambushes to curtail enemy infiltration from the border region. Sound familiar? Well, my friend it didn 't work there and it certainly isn't going to work in Afghanistan. I salute all the medivac crews who will not hesitate to launch and fly into a hot LZ when its necessary. Been there, done that. Its time some serious brass heads be chopped. PS: To help support your efforts I am making a nominal monetary monthly contribution to your cause via paypal. Wish it was more but I'm just a retired old disabled vet. Maybe it'll help inspire others to help you as well. Every little bit helps. Stay safe and watch your back.
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# RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodJohn Tromp 2012-06-27 18:57
Been there before, this sounds familiar, but before we start playing the blame game, ask this...How busy were they that day. What, you think it's 1 IED a day or something, uh uh, it's hundreds a day plus the firefights and whatever else comes up that commits that bird to a pick up. odds are, and this was the case too often when I was there, a bird wasn't immediately available at the time because it was busy trying to save another life at the time. IED'd are not convienent and do not occur when it's convienent for us.
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# RE: Fool’s Gold & Troops’ BloodHeath 2012-10-27 14:26
I can not believe that video. A loud noise at night could have drew hordes of the enemy. These guys are extremely lucky they were not open fired on nor the helicopter was attacked. I can only imagine what that must be like for U.S. Troops under attack. Condolences go with Clark's family. This video should be a training video on better helicopter ETA's and helicopters being heavily armed to the teeth. U.S. Army culture also needs to change for the better too.
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