Michael's Dispatches

Leadership: More than a Word


10 November 2011

There are leaders, and there are people in leadership positions.  These are not synonymous.  Today is the 314th day of 2011.  According to iCasualties.org, approximately 515 Coalition members have died in Afghanistan this year.  Far more have been wounded and evacuated by helicopter.  Our MEDEVAC policy is dangerously flawed, yet no leader has stepped forward to fix what obviously is broken.

A helicopter evacuation is probably ongoing as you read these words.  In my dispatches Red Air, Golden Seconds, and Fool’s Gold & Troops’ Blood, a strong case was made for arming Dustoff Helicopters.  Arming Dustoff helicopters will reduce strain on our overstretched helicopter fleet in Afghanistan, and can save lives.

There is no need for lengthy studies before arming helicopters.  The Marines, Air Force, and British already use armed helicopters to evacuate wounded.  Their way works better.  It’s common sense that when an enemy is firing a machine gun, it’s good to fire back.  Yet today, we send unarmed Dustoff helicopters into hot LZs.  Sometimes there are delays in retrieving the grievously wounded from the battlefields simply because the Army Dustoffs have no machine guns and must wait on top cover, or cannot fight their way into an LZ.

This situation has been brought to the attention of Senators and Representatives.  None have taken the lead.  None have stepped up and said, “This will change.”  Day by day, more are wounded and more die.

Congressman Mike Pompeo (Kansas) has made a statement:

“My office has been in communication with the Army to obtain more information. As a veteran, I care deeply for all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are serving overseas to keep our country secure. I am passionate about ensuring they have the resources and support they need to complete their missions and return home to their loved ones.”

Congressman Mike Pompeo and others should do the right thing: stop waiting.  Lead.  This issue is important.

We are never more than a day away from the time when a troop will come forward with more video evidence of our MEDEVAC policy failure.  Such videos probably already exist.  I published one such video in Fool’s Gold & Troops’ Blood.

Combat will be ongoing as you read these words.

Please contact your Congressman.

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