Red Air: America’s Medevac Failure

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

12 October 2011

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.


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.


+13 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurein_awe 2011-10-12 10:59
Terribly sad and angering post. Someday the public will learn how many deaths have resulted directly from the ROE's and standing orders like you report in this dispatch. Only then will change come.
+16 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJames Kemp 2011-10-12 11:01
Michael, thank you for this extremely urgent post. As a retired U.S. Navy Command Master Chief, this sickens me. I plan to send this article to every Senator and Congressman I can get an address on and demand an investigation. THIS HAS TO STOP! Thank you for your outstanding work and plesae be safe! Jim Kemp
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBobH 2011-10-12 11:02
I bet this will bring down a storm of complaint about how you raise the question, instead of focus on answering the question.
-4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMark R 2011-10-12 11:10
A Case of Corporate Manslaughter perhaps?
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureRattlerGator 2011-10-12 11:15
Devastating report, Michael. I will try and spread what little word that I can in honor of Chaz .
+20 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureF Thomas 2011-10-12 11:16
As a former Dust Off Pilot I am enraged at the incompetancy of those in charge. The Pilot In Command should be given the discretion of accepting a mission. Additionally, there is no excuse for not having a helicopter on standby and close to the action ready for the speedy extraction of wounded Soldiers and Marines. This young man died because of beurocratic incompetency eating up the "Golden Hour for Survival". My prayers go out to his family and fellow soldiers in the 4-4 Cav.
-5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureAnn B 2012-11-30 02:20
My son is the pilot who was the one who flew into this scene. He was following orders, on base w/helicopter running, waiting for the OK to go. Shame on you Michael for, as Bob H above points out, "How you raise the question, instead of focus on answering the question." Have you not thought about the troops who are fighting for our freedom,(your freedom of speech!)and yet you pit them against each other. My son feels horrible about the out come. He did all he could to save a fellow solider. My heart and support goes out to all our troops who are giving their all for our country.
+6 # Ann -- please correct check your instrumentsMichael Yon Author 2012-11-30 03:11

Thank you of the comments, and please also thank your son.

Please do an hour of homework because making comments such ""How you raise the question, instead of focus on answering the question." (as you quoted) are simply untrue. Writing or quoting such sets back your credibility. An hour of homework would reveal that in fact I have written many pages with suggestions. Ten minutes of thought before writing also would likely reveal that to fix a problem, your first identify it in full.

This statement falls flat: "Have you not thought about the troops who are fighting for our freedom,(your freedom of speech!)and yet you pit them against each other."

Like Humpty Dumpty. That holier than though tripe lands with a thud and breaks open. My answer: Yes, I have had the chance to think about it during my almost five years on active duty, and about four years in real wars. Plenty of time. Please, the holier than thou stuff is a poop in church. Don't need it. Unwelcome. Sets the discussion back.

As for setting the troops against each other: I have not done this. Troops decide to fight each other every day for all manner of nonsense, and fight-worthy material. They are human. Nobody needs me to pit people against each other. I would also like to add that I did not start World War I, II, Korea, or the Vietnam wars, or the current war. I did not fire McChrystal. I did not cause Petraeus to resign. I had nothing to do with 9/11, Benghazi, the economic collapse, or any hurricanes that batter coastlines. Stuff happens.

It should be noted that many pilots and others are in agreement with these MEDEVAC dispatches. It should also be noted the Major General (ret.) Patrick Brady, famous Dustoff pilot and Medal of Honor recipient, has written an article about the broken system.

If I did not care about the people fighting, then writing these dispatches would have been a complete waste of my time. I value my time. You don't make money writing dispatches like this. You lose money, and invest great time. And you get holier than thou, uniformed messages and emails as part of the compensation, but then you get others saying THANK YOU. And those Thank You’s ARE important.

Again, thank you for the forthright comments, and I hope you will accept mine with the seriousness that I accepted yours.

Michael Yon
+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBarry Sheridan 2011-10-12 11:20
Michael, this is a profoundly sad situation. Although that said, nothing really surprises me about the sort of people who often gain authority, a reflection that is not directed just at the US, it is the same here in the UK and elsewhere. World-wide the politicising of life all too frequently corrupts our ability to act sensibly. My deepest sympathy goes to the family and surviving buddies of this soldier. Given the injuries you describe he may not have survived, but he certainly deserved better than to left dying on the ground because of political machinations. RIP
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCatamounts 2011-10-12 12:05

One comment, I'm not sure who through you the comment about Medical Service Corps being the issue.

"Medical Corps does not want to give up its helicopters because senior officers want their own helicopters to shuttle them from here to there."

This is a red herring. The Medical Corps don't own MEDEVAC A/C other than the Maj who is the company commander. He works for the same Combat Avation Brigade commander as the Apache crews. He/She has nothing else to do with the Medical Service Corps while deployed for recieving thier instructions.

Other than that hoped for correction in that statement, I agree. If you and yours are going to elevate it to the Sec Def, then at least have the basis of your argument correct.

Restated sometning like, "change Policy interptation X of the Hauge Accords to allow Army Aero-Med Evac A/C and their crews to be armed similure to and in accorance with the policy applied to the AF Pedros."
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCatamounts 2011-10-12 12:06
The DOTMLPF will also need to end up addressing the ifferances in how the AF PJ's are trained and selected, vs. how Army MEDEVAC crews are trained as well as required configuration changes to Army A/C to mount weapons.

In the old days of OEF, we had on more than one occassion Army MEDEVACs conducted without Attack A/C support (for one we had five unarmed ARMY MEDEVAC 60's arrive without escort)and conducted at least one non-standard MEDEVAC onto A/C which were simply passing by when we needed them. So while I know things have changed, make sure you are throwing stones at the RIGHT point of failure.
+4 # Making senseMelissa 2011-12-29 05:50
As a flight medic with the US Army MEDEVAC te above statement is true, more often than not any aircraft capable will land and take the wounded, however, depending on the unit that the MEDEVAC is with or attached to determines whether they take off with or without armed escorts. I returned recently from OEF and we had self escort which means two MEDEVAC birds flew together without an escort if they werent already out there. The unit we fell under understood the risks and were willing to accept because we saved the wounded in any situation. A good point also to remember is that MEDEVAC 60's are faster than the gunships and more often than not we were ahead of them, our safety wasnt out priority the patient was!
+3 # Justin 2012-02-18 05:12
I think they are confusing the Battle Space Owner (BSO) with the MEDEVAC Command. The thought is that the MEDEVAC birds would be used like regular UH60s for transport and resupply. I think that it is unlikely the BSO would abuse an asset that is so critical. Fault of the 8 minutes rests with the BSO, since they direct MEDEVACs to go in or hold up, it never mentioned it and I don't know, but 1UP (first MEDEVAC) may have had issues or enroute to another call, and it was 2UP which may be why it took longer. Sad though. We always paired up DustOff with an AH64 or OH58. We put many of our MEDEVAC birds at great risk to get guys out. We had birds shredded by ground fire and a Medic shot while on the hoist even with Gunned Birds suppressing. It's dirty, scary, confusing, and mistakes do happen, I don't know what the circumstances of this particular situation though.
0 # Totally False Justing and othersEric_StrattonIII 2012-03-10 14:57
I have interacted with Army MEDEVACs since O4' & 10' in Iraq, 07'-08' and 11' in Afghanistan and they have always been the same when talking to them DIRECTLY. They will not land in a Hot LZ, they will not go without a escort and they will not exactly rush to get an indig. These protocols were instituted by the leaders and while many pilots said they would do what they could to get there I found out the hard way that was BS. Last June we got hit in an ambush an it was almost 2 hours until I got to the clinic in Tarin Kowt. I pretty much wound up bleeding out and was lucky to get the treatment I did. The Helos themselves were over us within 30 mins but they remained in standby until the AW platforms came in. Joke. Sorry, the Army MEDEVACs system is greatly flawed and terribly lead and in my opinion your medics are also bloody horrible. The guy could not get an IV stick in the most severely wounded of us until the helo touched down. Again, joke. Having worked with your 68W's I assume that they are also slow to adopt the proper TCCC protocols and instead appeared to adopt the EMT-P protocols.
The Army should not call themselves Combat MEDEVACs, you should be renamed "Lifeflight". Give me Air Force or Marine Birds any day. I have also seen Kiowas land to get guys before your guys will, so YOU and YOUR Community are to blame, not the AO Commanders, YOU.
+3 # Enoughcopter 2012-05-06 05:35
Whilte I'm sure you suffered in your ordeal. YOU do not have all the facts. What you see and think you see, is not always correct. You know, "Perception is reality", well..let me tell you, reality is rarely percieved. I was a Standardization Pilot in a MEDEVAC company, and have been MEDEVAC for much of my 22 years in the Army. I agree with the NEED to change our platform markings AND policy, like that of Pedro, and I believe politics are preventing it. I don't agree with your all encompassing thought process that ALL of those medics are horrible. You ended up in a horrible situation. 99% of the Medics I've worked with are no doubt THE cream of the crop. No BS, but in anything, I'm sure there exists that 1%. So, with that being said, take it for what it's worth. My experience, pretty extensive, not one bad incident that changes my outlook, leads me to conclude it involves political BS from the TOP which restrics us from performing our jobs and saving lives. I can recount noumerous instances of this problem! I will not. But for an anology, if you want a close medical diagnosis, go see a doctor. If you want something closer to reality, less perception, perhaps you would ask someone with operational experience and not hear-say and conjecture.
+2 # Combat MedicsNotSoPCArmyWife 2012-08-17 16:54
Mr. Stratton:

I am sorry that you were not only injuried, but that you had what appears to be a rather bad experience in the field with regard to our combat medics.

As the wife of a US Army soldier-combat medic, I have to agree with Copter: 99% of them are top-notch and I would easily let them care for me in an emergent/urgent situation of any kind. Before you call my declaration biased, let me state that I am an expert-level adult ICU RN with 28 years of experience in some of the busiest hospitals in the southeastern and southwestern USA. I don't put my life into anyone's hands lightly 'cause quite honestly, I tend to doubt others can measure up to my standards.

I know seasoned ER and ICU nurses who, on any given day, can't get an IV started in a Stage 4 hypovolemic shock or cardiac arrest patient. I've had it happen to me. I am typically the one who is called by my colleagues both in the ICU and on the floors to start those extremely hard-stick patients who need an IV. I've worked on an IV team. I'm an IV expert, without a doubt.

Yet, everyone has bad days. You may have had a medic who never had to start an IV under crisis situations. That is not necessarily the fault of the medic if that soldier is in his or her first deployment and/or in his/her first firefight. Adrenaline surges can make the easiest of skills extremely difficult. I feel that if I were that particular medic, I probably would've had difficulty getting you an IV in the field if bullets were flying over my head - and I'm an expert in the skill of emergent intravenous access. If you were in a basic aid station, I might give that medic more of a frown, since those folks are used to treating guys right out of the field.

My professional experience aside...

I don't see an issue with the blending of combat medic and EMT-P protocols. Current protocol here in GA allows the EMT-P to start intraosseous access for fluid resuscitation and medication administration in the face of difficult/unabl e to obtain peripheral venous access. I'm not sure when your incident occurred, but I can tell you that my husband is skilled in the insertion and maintenance of an intraosseous needle in order to establish instant access for fluid resuscitation. That might not have been a skill taught to those who treated you when you were injured. I feel confident stating that had the combat medic treating you had that treatment modality available to him/her at the time of your injury, you would've had a needle into your sternum and fluids up before you could say "What..?" There are other access sites they are taught to use depending on the injuries present.

I feel that the issue Michael is pointing out is the fact that politics and inflexibility of highest- and high-level commanders will not change the current policy/rules. That is wrong, and that is killing our soldiers.
+1 # RE: Combat Medicseric_strattoniii 2012-08-19 23:28
Copter and Notsopcarmywife ,
I addressed both of your posts below in a thread with a "Major". Look, bottom line up front, the 68W's were not being backed up by their MDs & PAs, saw if first hand since 04'-11'. It is NOT on the 68W's, it is on the Army System in the Army Medical Corps, they are slow to adapt and do not trust their folks. This is changing but it took 10 years.
As for the pilots, it is not on the pilots, the policies were instituted by the 05's and above and saw it first hand-DEALING WITH THEM FACE TO FACE, not second hand, not third hand, talking directly with them. IF you read what I had said, I always thought they would disobey the directives if it came down to it, I was proven wrong. I made assumptions and it had a cost. I have seen Kiowa pilots land before MEDEVACs birds, shouldn't be that way. Reforms are needed, saying that it was a rare instance is like living in Maine and saying snow happens 'rarely'.
As for EMT-P protocols, I disagree, very different modalities and limited scope of practice in comparison to what a good 68W should be allowed to do in the way of invasive procedures and fluids. Again, not on the guys, it is and always will be on the senior leadership.
Now that the war is ending they are looking to change their protocols, I will not hold my breath.
Take the cross off the helos, let them arm themselves and stop micro-managing them. Then train the medics in advanced procedures and come up with a broader scope of practice, better tools on the helos. If their medical sups are too worries then have the bloody MDs and PAs train them on the procedures, document it and mandate continued training-it is called STANDARDS. You don't want the risk? Resign your commission or at least get out of the way is what I say to the MDs and PAs who fight it.
0 # RE: RE: Combat Medicscopter 2012-08-20 05:39
Disobey the directives? Really? You are right. I'd hope those pilots would not disobey their directives. Those ain't illegal orders we're talking about. Frustration? Yes. I would love to paint over the crosses, strap mini guns on and add another gunner. Anyway, agreed about the 05 and above blockage...actu ally, it's the 06 which mandates this idiocy of requiring another "Approval" to launch, even though crews have already been pre-approved. ... it still persists. This is what angers me.
As far as landing in a "Hot" LZ. I'm sure you realize the real version vs the "Hollywood" version of taking down a Helo is quite different. Helo's are coming back with holes in them in the LZ's that are "Ice" Easy target, easy kill. So, weighing the risk to adding a crew of 4 to the one injured on the ground? Sorry, there has to be some form of measured risk, and that is the AWT/SWT circling above with good "eyes" and guns to make this call. I would hope it wouldn't take 30 min. (Never close to that long this deployment), but I'm not in the mix so much this time around. Again, on the medic side, I stand by what I said earlier, I'd rather have one of our flight medics tend to me than others I would't name...but that's just my opinion of course.
0 # RE: RE: RE: Combat Medicseric_strattoniii 2012-08-20 09:50
Copter, if you continue to do things that are counter to the betterment of the rest of the community then that is a cultural issue, not solely on the 05's and 06's.

Measured risk? Yes, there does need to be that but not taking any risk is just as bad as taking too much. 30 mins was the quickest you would get them there, not the exception and that was more often than not delayed even more due to escort or the release orders (90+ mins). The deployment where it was a minimum of 30 mins was 2011', so not sure what deployment you were on or where you were but that was the deal.

At the end of the day your community is supposed to be "Combat" MEDEVAC, they did not start to change your protocols until recently and only have a lot of grief from outside of your community.

On your medics, there training is also being revamped, they are great paramedics but they should be allowed to do more invasive procedures and trained to it. They should copy the PJ model in regard to training and standards and also how they kit out the helo and what kind of extractions they can do. PJs get both the EMT-P AND other advanced procedures/TCCC along the 18Delta lines. Big Army may not have the funding to mirror that training on the medical, extraction and equipment side but they should make that the goal or at least their model.
0 # RE: RE: RE: RE: Combat Medicscopter 2012-08-20 11:35
I don't follow your "Cultural Issue" argument. Measured Risk I agree. There exists the "Golden hour" from receipt of mission to patient at care facility. That hour has not changed since I was in OIF 09-10 to now, presently at RC-S & SW for OEF. Anything beyond the HR. requires investigation (GO). During OIF, the problem was what I talked about before, "Approval". Again, this deployment, I'm not as involved in MEDEVAC, but as to what I see, nothing has changed.
Medics with training/fundin g?..yup, big Army problem. Comparing SOF in this is like comparing Air Force and Army. $$$$$$$ Preach to the Choir on that one.
0 # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Combat Medicseric_strattoniii 2012-08-20 23:49
You do not do "measured risk", you have strict rules, period. Your pilots are not allowed to make the call, your seniors make the policy and you guys go by it. It is a cultural issue within the group.

-Removal of the Red Cross: Anyone resign over this or go on record has obeying but protesting for the record I don't know about?
-Weapons on the helos: Any resignations come out I have not heard about or anyone gone on record over this being a poor choice?
-Training: Not about money, it is about your MDs and PAs training them to a standard and then keeping them at it. Getting advanced training is not hard to line up, all you have to do is get agreements (MOA/MOU) with hospitals for rotations or do it internal at DoD hospitals. It is about working and pushing the issue. They don't.

All those things add up to a cultural problem.

Look, I answered most of this discussion below with my thread to the Major.

Saying that it is rare that the MEDEVACs show up after 30 mins and pick up is not being honest.

Saying that there is not a serious internal problem with the leadership is not being honest in regard to policy.

Saying that training could not be improved and attempting to say it is about cost is not being honest.

Money is a problem in regard to equipment, you are right on that.
Money is a problem in regard to the helicopter pilots skill sets, you are right on that.
Money is not a problem with regard to increased training for the medics or for policy that pushes the decision making process down to the pilots and air crew.

It is not about comparing SOF when I see Marine Pilots and non-medic pilots doing pick ups without the "problems" we are talking about on here.

Look, I do not blame the Junior Officers, the Enlisted guys, is always a leadership problem when you see this sort of thing.

The medics on helos are usually Paramedic level guys but are treated like they are civilian paramedics as far as scope of practice, that is BS, if they can do those EMT-P skills they can do more advanced ones and that is again on their leadership. Not money, we have dealt with it. It is all about getting buy in.

At the end of the day, you can look at this as a hate fest, it is not that. It is a concern for BS policies and risk aversion in the leadership ranks that continues this poorly chosen path.
0 # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Combat Medicscopter 2012-08-21 05:50
Sorry if you don't like the term, but yes, you do measure risk. You look both ways before crossing the street, don't you? We can go round and round in this argument soley on semantics. I Won't.
Correct, on pilots not allowed to make calls, in some cases, 06 in TOC trying to dictate where to fly by looking at the BFT! Depending on the Aviator, this may or may not effect the outcome of the mission.
Removal of Red Cross. Why would someone resign for something that has always been and some feel necessary? IF you started working at McDonnalds, would you then resign because you don't like the big "M"?
Protesting the Army reasoning, political IMO, is done all the here. Also, if you are still army and have access to AKO, look at the OIL reports (observations, Insights, Lessons learned),
YOu will most likely find all of the questions that you have not heard about happening, where the "Big Army" is supposed to take heed. Obviously they don't...always.
I believe your concern is real, and many of the problems you state are real.
I didn't state that MEDEVACS have not shown up late, I said if so, there is an investigation. I didn't state that there isn't serious internal problems with leadership either. If you read carefully, I echo your sentiments, just trying to let you see from a different perspective. I am stating what I see and hear. I really have no reason to be dishonest.
+1 # Seen First HandP McMannus 2012-01-18 17:25
Maybe the article could be written slightly different, however, I've seen first hand the politics involved. I once had a 10 yr old girl loaded on my a/c with serious head trauma. Only to have her taken off because we couldn't get launch approval to fly from one regional command to another where the closest care was available. Med Service officers were at the core of this and many other problems as they decide (and argue with one another) on when and where a patient may go and can hold up the launch approval process. Med Service Corps does also play a role in a/c though MEDEVAC companies now follow under aviation brigades. The article could be adjusted and MS is not the full problem but they do play a role.
+11 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMike Brown 2011-10-12 11:22
I'm a two tour Vietnam veteran. I spent one tour as an artillery FO with the infantry. I spent the other as a Cobra gunship pilot. I've seen helicopter casualty evacuation from both sides. What is described here boggles my mind. My Cobra unit--F/79 AFA (Blue Max)--had a two-minute "hot" section 24/7. That meant that we had two birds on stand-by that were required to be "skids up" within two minutes of notification. We always met that. The Dustoff/Medevac s had a similar rigor (we were their escorts). I also felt angry as I read this...angry that after three years of the current administration, the closest thing to articulation of a mission in Afghanistan that Obama has been able to offer is a timetable for withdrawal. Effectively, we are bleeding our troops to support a politically inspired timetable. What absolute nonsense!
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBullwhip vet 2011-10-12 12:00
Things have not changed much since Vietnam 1965, The way air cav units are organized made it easier for each Troop to med-evac our own wounded. I know careers would end now if things were changed back to the Bullwhip days. Bullwhip six sure had a faster way of getting the job done.
+1 # AMENNotSoPCArmyWife 2012-08-17 17:10
I, too, felt extremely angry after reading this article. How dare ANY commander, I don't care what the rank is, make it difficult for MEDEVAC choppers to be unable to get to our wounded and get them to adequate levels of care as soon as the medic sends the 9-lines communication out! How dare they.

Like many Americans, I thought our only mission in Afghanistan was to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. I'll admit, I'm kind of foggy on how we managed to get involved with overthrowing the Taliban, as the 9/11 attacks were al Qaeda, not Taliban. Our mission was completed upon the death of Bin Laden. Still, our troops are dying, maimed, and otherwise wounded from this ridiculous inability to determine why we continue to remain. Politically-ins pired? I'm in agreement with you there. Our Division has just sent more troops to A-stan to help with the "transition to advise and assist". A/A = BS, in my opinion. When the Afghan Army shoots our own troops who are trying their hardest to train the Afghanis, then it's well past time to come home. The first time one of those ***holes shot an American service member, we should've been gone. The first time Karzai said, "If you don't give me what I want, I'll just go talk to the Taliban", we should've been out of there.

Our troops are dying because no one in DC has the balls to bring them ALL home.

Mr. Brown - thank you so much for your service in what became a very unpopular war. As the wife of an Army combat medic, the daughter of a WWII Navy vet, the niece of a WWII Army vet, a Marine ForceRecon cousin, and cousin to multiple family on both sides of my family, I would like to say, "Welcome home and thank you!" While my Marine cousin was my hero as a child, those pilots who flew into battle to get our wounded out - as well as the medics on the ground - will forever be my heroes. You folks are simply amazing. Thank you.
+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureandy fr dc 2011-10-12 11:28
Our generals are chosen for their subservience to PC and their ability to play politics. Why is this fiasco a surprise?
-10 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuresnow 2011-10-12 11:29
I'm going to put this in terms the other side of the argument likely understands better: what is the cost of a helicopter and its pilots versus the cost of one soldier? How much more difficult would it be to replace the former, as opposed to the latter? Remember, the value of a human life is only $7.9 million according to the EPA. Even I'm not so cynical, though, as to wonder what is the cost of a soldier who needs a lifetime of rehabilitative care versus the cost of replacing that soldier.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureepador 2011-10-14 09:38
This vile BS contradicts what every DUSTOFF and PEDRO represents.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureFormer Pedro CC 2011-10-16 07:55
Snow, that is a cold view of the world. If you're idea that one of our warriors lives' is not worth the risk of a machine, ever actually becomes policy, then we will have not only lost the war,. . . we will have lost our souls. I pray it never happens.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureNeal 2012-02-07 12:00
soldiers fight alot harder when they know their team follows the warrior ethos-never leave a fallen comrade. Why take risk if no one has your back? If you know they are going to move heaven and hell to save your life if wounded, you fight differently than if you command treats you like names ammunition to be "spent" to accomplish the mission.
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJustin 2012-02-18 05:16
Really dude? You have no clue. The bird can be repaired. How about we do away with all civilian ambulances since motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death? Sounds pretty stupid huh????
+1 # Always down to moneyNotSoPCArmyWife 2012-08-17 22:56

While I completely understand your argument, I had a good deal of trouble removing the anger that flared when I first read your comment. Sadly, I feel that you could be right: What is the cost of equipment and training vs. one grunt on the ground? Should our senior commanders even briefly consider that question, they immediately resign in shame.
+1 # Fixes a typoNotSoPCArmyWife 2012-08-17 22:57
My last sentence should read "....they should immediately resign in shame."
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePeter, in MN 2011-10-12 11:30
Michael, HE has given you wisdom and courage. This is a profoud article. Continue.
+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCrex39 2011-10-12 11:30
As a former Army medic I find this embarrassing and unacceptable. Along with the family of Spc.Chazray I feel for the medic as I know firsthand the limited supplies in the aid bag for a situation as this. The Brass should hang their head in shame with politics killing a soldier with help minutes away. In my short Army career I see how much the Brass values their enlisted soldiers lives which is one reason I am no longer in uniform. My stepson wanted to join the Army, I am persuading him to join the Air Force if at all.
0 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCourtney 2011-12-12 21:52
Why the Air Force out of all the branches?
0 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureOld MSgt 2014-01-27 15:30
(AF vet '81-'07 here.)
Because the AF treats its people far better than does the Army, has higher enlistment standards (AF recruiters have sent those who couldn't meet them down the hall to their Army counterparts for decades), and a far higher quality-of-life . AF priorities work to keep career Airmen because weapons system expertise takes years to develop.
The Army have a lot of great folks, but they also have a lot of institutional differences which are not required based on operational needs and are toxic traditional hangovers from when the Green Machine was a bad place. I went USAF because the Nam and Hollow Force Era Army vets I grew up around vigorously dissuaded me from going Army. My experiences over time validated that choice, as did the many Army vets who moved over to the Air Force when their enlistments expired.
+5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJoe 2011-10-12 11:33
Thank you Michael for stepping up and clearly defining the problem and not taking the safe path of side-stepping the issue. Let those hard working men and bad-arse females know we appreciate their sacrifice and they are thought of daily.

All the best
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDad 2011-10-12 11:37
My son sat with a buddy who died last year because of "Red Air".........un acceptable.
+1 # Justin 2012-02-18 05:18
@Dad, I am sorry to hear that. "Red Air" call may refer to weather, but still sorry to hear that.
+5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurenellie 2011-10-12 11:38
Having been sat on the ground loaded with 8 locals, who had hit an IED with their tractor/trailer combo, while command tried to decide where we should take them (less clear than with mil casualties) it is always frustrating to fritter away the 'golden hour' whilst the system struggles with trivia like this. It is doubly sad that aviators will do everything flat out to get going on a casevec, but then see bits of the system that don't seem to share the same ethos slow the whole process - and the troops on the ground suffer as a result......... ..sadly some things never seem to change?
+3 # No Name Given 2011-10-12 11:38
I was a TOC battle NCO in an aviation task force that served in Iraq and Afg. many times. As Michael said, this is not a new issue and more importantly, he mentioned the fact that this is not the aviator or his unit's choice in most cases. When lines are drawn on a map on where you do and don't need gun support for a medevac, other important factors aside from danger are not included (in my opinion).

1) There simply is not enough Apaches. In my experience, every single available Apache gunship and its crew was tasked to something every single hour of the day. That is the nature of this war, the Apache is demanded far above the available supply. If you require a gunship from another tasking for this medevac (this being priority) you have to pull it from another mission, wait for it to fly back, refuel, and link up with the med bird. Significant time is lost here.
+2 # No Name Given 2011-10-12 11:39
2) The AF CSAR aircraft are often reserved for more serious situations such as heavy fire extraction. Top leadership shy's from using them outside of their clearly defined role. Medevac is not their specifically defined role; afteral, that's what we have Army med birds for right? (just to be clear, I'm all for exhausting all available resources to save a life).

3) Often times a required sister ship (another, armed Blackhawk) isn't available for any number of reasons. I don't know what the difference is between Iraq and Afg. in this case, but aviation leadership is scared to the bone to send a medevac out for a secured POI pickup without a sister ship. The advantages to a sister ship's presence is obvious, but it was done so often in Iraq for urgent 9-lines and yet so rarely in Afghanistan.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJ. Wittlich 2011-10-12 11:44
First, I'm saddened by this story, as I was by the dispatch about SPC Clark's death. He paid the ultimate price, and I feel that telling his story is a fitting tribute. All who read it need not remember him as an individual, but will remember the essence of his sacrifice.

My question- helicopter dustoff came into its own in Vietnam. Veterans, historians, or other knowledgeable people- how have things changed or stayed the same since then? I know that the aviation "fight" between the branches has been going on since the formation of the Air Force, but how has SOP evolved in the last 40 years? Should leadership look to the past for guidance?
0 # haakondahl 2011-10-12 11:52
Good luck waiting for relief from Panetta. Now Pace is out, and Jamie Gorelick is in, Albright too.
+5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBill Finegan 2011-10-12 12:03
The Medical Service Corps Chief has a facebook page. I just posted a link to this blog post along with this comment on his wall: "Michael Yon is calling for your top General in Afghanistan to be fired and your medevac policies to be changed. As a veteran, and a civilian paramedic, I agree with Mr Yon's assessment. The unarmed Red Cross birds make absolutely no sense in the modern battlespace. Why would you send in a fat unarmed target when you could send in a gunship that can evac...

To find this page, go to the Facebook search bar and type in medical.service .corps.chief. Please find my comment and sound off!
0 # David Quin 2011-10-12 12:39
I looked, but was unable to find it...wonder if it had been pulled?
+2 # Bill Finegan 2011-10-12 12:48
They just changed their settings. If you look under the first five pictures there are the words:
"Wall Medical Service Corps Chief - Everyone"
You have to click "everyone" to see the posts.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureRobin Carey 2011-10-12 12:07
Michael, thank you for the insight into this atrocious situation. We have a very dear friend in this fine batallion and pray for him and his buddies every day. It is worrisome enough to have our soldiers in combat situations without having to worry that the half-assed rules and regulations may get them killed if they do manage to survive an attack or injury. I am glad that Chazray Clark was surrounded by his buddies as he lay waiting for the medevac to get there. He also had the company of Sgt. Carroll on his way to the hospital and this was probably comforting to him. Thank you again and please continue to draw attention the these types of problems. Maybe someone with authority will get involved to make changes because of this dispatch. Keep up the good works and may God bless you and keep you safe along with our equally brave soldiers. Sincerely Robin Carey, Rocklin, CA
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJean Bailey 2011-10-12 12:19
Thanks so much for reporting this Michael... hopefully it will bring about some change in SOP.

How many Apaches can you build for the price of one F-22 or F-35?
+5 # epador 2011-10-14 09:41
How many A-10's could we build for an F-22?
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureStaci 2011-10-12 12:22
Your dispatches are always so informative and let us back home know what is truely happening over there. This is unacceptable! Not one American soldier should have to die because only a certain helicopter can medivac them out. Someone needs to be held accountable for this.
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureV-Man 2011-10-12 12:24
I have a (probably stupid) civilian question: if the village was empty of all except hostile forces, why send in troops? Why not just call in a bomber and flatten the place with, say, a FAE bomb, and then send in people for mop-up?

What's the objective of putting the troops in danger? They're not going to occupy the place. They're not going in to arrest the Talibans (at least I hope not). What are they doing there?

And Michael, thank you for your continued work. Stay safe.
+13 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePaul Fleming 2011-10-12 12:32
The ROEs are generally set up to protect the Medevac assets. Those resources are precious and difficult to come by. It is a difficult policy to live with. The question here is why were AH-64 not on standby. Do we have an assets allocation problem were proper priorities assigned or just someone not keeping his eye on the ball.

Its time we stopped painting red crosses on our helicopters. Let them fire back in self defense. When was the last time we fought somebody who respected the Geneva Convention or gave a rats ass about a red cross. A couple of door guns can make all the difference. We really need to rethink the ROEs.
0 # Justin 2012-02-18 05:23
Just not enough assets to go around. The CCA may have been suppressing for other troops in contact calls. There is a limited amount of crew day available and limited blade time available for every airframe. It comes down to resource management and having leaders on the ground making good calls or bad ones.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureLeyla Najma 2011-10-12 13:20
This was definitely a sad story and a very serious problem. Our soldiers safety and welfare should come first and foremost before anything else.

Politics that costs lives is a disgrace and those in charge need to take a good look at the good men who are dyeing needlessly. What a shame and what's worse it doesn't need to be this way.

My prayers are with the families who have to deal with the death of loved ones and my prayers are with every soldier still out in the field doing his duty. What brave men, we are so lucky because they represent the best of humanity!
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJim 2011-10-12 13:35
The Army keeps the red crosses because it is a very politically correct organization.
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureRenee 2011-10-12 13:36
I'm just an ignorant civilian, but if this is accurate... and I have no reason to doubt it... then I don't think the General should be fired JUST YET... HIS boots should be put on the ground along with the men he sends out to fight the actual battles. Wonder what decisions he would make in the war room if THAT were the case??
+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJoe Murray 2011-10-12 13:50
Having served over forty years ago, it's appalling to see the the Army's proclivity of SNAFU the simplest operations haswn't cvhanged. The Taliban didn't sign the Geneva Convention; they have declared an asymetrical religious war against the United States. The answer is to get red crossews off the dust offs, mount .50's and marksmen. It's stupid for our troops to die becauswe of politics.

If the senior medicos want a helicopter for their personal trips to HQ, then get them one but the Dust Offs aere more important than carryhing their well manicured asses from here to there. The only one who can correct this criminal stupidity is Petreaus's replacement. He can fix it with a direct order to all Army Dust Off units through the medical commander who's putting lives on the poker table for his convenience.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuredustoff 2011-10-12 14:24
It is not the "Medical Generals" who control the dispatch of the MEDEVAC aircraft once called for a mission, it is the Aviation commander in charge. Aviation branch fought to bring MEDEVAC under C2 of aviation and this is the result - bureacuracy that results in precious lives being lost. As Yon said, MEDEVAC crews would have launched (taking the appropriate risk mitigation procedures and securing escort) upon being called. You want to point a finger - point it at Dick Cody who initiated and pushed this doctrinal change.
+1 # Becky 2011-10-12 14:57
Why was it not "fixed" under Petreaus????
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCharles 2011-10-12 14:09

You deserve a medal for what you have done off your own back to report on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know of any other journalist telling these stories.
I have read many stories of patrols and IEDs and sometimes struggle to understand the strategy or tactics. There seems to be no downside to the local people in planting these bombs. If they refuse to plant them, they maybe get killed by the Taliban. If they plant them and US troops get killed, nothing much seems to happen to them.
Also, why go in on foot? Why not go in in daylight in armoured vehicles? Or why go in at all? I suspect that there are no 'hearts and minds' to really be won in villages like these.
Finally, it was me who previously raised questions about the number of troops on the Seal Team 6 helicopter which crashed. Here in this dispatch we see politics and bureaucracy costing lives by delaying the use of available helicopters. That was exactly what my previous comments were about.
+12 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePatrick Cahill 2011-10-12 14:17
It's OK I am sure none of the Generals will lose their job or any rank, but the young soldier is still dead. You make it harder when you have to fight the enemy and the rules every day.
+2 # Charles 2011-10-12 14:24
You deserve a medal for what you have done off your own back to report on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know of any other journalist telling these stories.
I have read many stories of patrols and IEDs and sometimes struggle to understand the strategy or tactics. There seems to be no downside to the local people in planting these bombs. If they refuse to plant them, they maybe get killed by the Taliban. If they plant them and US troops get killed, nothing much seems to happen to them.
Also, why go in on foot? Why not go in in daylight in armoured vehicles? Or why go in at all? I suspect that there are no 'hearts and minds' to really be won in villages like these.
Finally, it was me who previously raised questions about the number of troops on the Seal Team 6 helicopter which crashed. Here in this dispatch we see politics and bureaucracy costing lives by delaying the use of available helicopters. That was exactly what my previous comments were about.
+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJbad04 2011-10-12 14:28
All the red cross does is to provide a better aiming point for the Taliban. They are not a nation-state and could give a rat's rear less about that cross. Take them off and arm the choppers or allow the Pedro's to do the flights if Apache's are not immediately available for escort. Time is critical. I'm sure the Dustoff crew knew this and was agonizing while waiting for clearance. A good man died, change the damm policy!
+5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBob Pratt 2011-10-12 14:32
Mike, As a former 91W who served in Paktika in 05, I am outraged that this young soldier died because of the damn political situation yet again....

+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureguns-n-rotors 2011-10-12 14:53

First let me express me sadness for the loss of your friend.

Now please allow me a few lines to share some information you may not be aware of and it may be causing some of your anger to be misguided.

I was in KAF in 2006 when ISAF took over as an Apache crewchief. We were ran ring route security, TICs, QRF, MEDEVAC and CSAR cover. Next year I am going back but this time as a DUSTOFF crewchief. Before NATO taking over we could have both a Blackhawk and a 64 in the air in less than 10 minutes from radio alert. We did it several times. Once NATO took over not only did operations change but the cadence changed. 1st up and QRF crews no longer sat waiting on the call in the CP but were given radio and told to go wait in the barracks. Obviously this added to reaction time. We also had to pretty much go though NATO to launch anything outside of the traffic pattern. Frustrating to say the least from our standpoint too.

+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureguns-and-rotors 2011-10-12 15:06
There are also other circumstances that may have contributed to this. The UH-60s that are being used in the MEDEVAC roll are the 2nd fastest birds in the fleet. Short of the CH-47s nothing can keep up with them and that includes the HH-60G Pavehawks that the USAF flies. Time is going to be added when the ambulance has to slow down for any gunship. The only other choice is to launch another hawk with the MEDEVAC and let them door gun for cover if needed. Obviously this is not going to provide the amount of protection that the 30mm from a 64 or even the miniguns/M2s of a Pavehawk would provide but the MEDEVAC crew doesnt really care, its all at the "risk management" level. I am sure you know how frustrating that can be. We can be "2 to fly" on the tarmac waiting on some pencil pecker to give us the go because of the risk assessment.
0 # guns-n-rotors 2011-10-12 15:08
As far as the big "red crosses" on the side of the aircraft. The US military doctrine gives all MEDEVAC responsibility to the US Army as we are the only ones that have dedicated assets. The big red crosses impose the same restrictions on us as it does a HMMWV or track ambulance. That is enforced under the Geneva, Hogue conventions along with US law. This is not at the general level but at the Congressional level. Believe me, I would much rather have a 240 than an open window when we launch out. Only when Army assets are unavailable (what ever reason that may be) can other aircraft be dispatched on CASEVAC missions. Also remember that when you take the PJs from their mission of CSAR it also shorts them a crew for the amount of time needed to do a DUSTOFF mission.
+3 # Frank Ch. Eigler 2011-10-14 06:41
"The big red crosses impose the same restrictions [...]. That is enforced under the Geneva, Hogue conventions along with US law. "

What law or treaty obliges you to use red cross labeled vehicles to perform medevac?
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureguns-n-rotors 2011-10-12 15:10
I know none of this seems to mean a hill of beans when you are mourning the loss of a friend, but I just hope it shares some insight from the other side. Don’t vent all of your anger at the general, there is plenty to go around and much of it should go to NATO IMHO.

Let me also add that my frustrations were first hand with NATO. Obviously in the last 5 years things may have changed but from talking to the crews coming back it seems like it has gotten worse if anything.

I'm sorry that it has take 4 posts to express all fo this.
+3 # Samuel Dennewitz 2011-10-12 18:45
It sure looks like nothing has changed since I was wounded and waiting for a medevac in 1967! It seems like it was the same for Vietnam as it is now for Afgan.
0 # Old MSgt 2014-01-27 22:15
In Viet Nam they had slow, effective fixed-wing FAC and CAS birds which could interact efficiently with helos during evac and rescue missions.
When Skyraider, O-2, OV-10, etc were phased out nothing replaced them and the Army didn't demand to own and operate such aircraft itself.
The same tech would be effective against insurgents today. The insurgents are less well-armed than the NVA. Helos can't loiter long but a Bronco FAC could have been kept in rotation over troops in contact providing not just FAC and FFAR/MG fire support but radio relay for when satcomm breaks down. Line-of-sight to the troops on the ground coupled with multiple radios including HF to talk to the big birds (including B-52 then as now!) would maintain comms in obstructive terrain.
A Skyraider equivalent could carry far more ordnance than a UAV, slow down to escort helos and strike targets, but have superior performance to a helicopter which are inherently limited. Fixed-wing attack birds can easily outrun a helo when time is of the essence.
Skyraiders wore out and were scrapped, O-2 was dangerous (no ejection seats and quite slow), and Marine Broncos were retired. Broncos are still serving in counterdrug missions and with the Phillipine AF as they are a very durable airframe. (I maintained them in the 1980s in Germany.)
+1 # guns-n-rotors 2011-10-12 14:57

First let me express me sadness for the loss of your friend.

Now please allow me a few lines to share some information you may not be aware of and it may be causing some of your anger to be misguided.

I was in KAF in 2006 when ISAF took over as an Apache crewchief. We were ran ring route security, TICs, QRF, MEDEVAC and CSAR cover. Next year I am going back but this time as a DUSTOFF crewchief. Before NATO taking over we could have both a Blackhawk and a 64 in the air in less than 10 minutes from radio alert. We did it several times. Once NATO took over not only did operations change but the cadence changed. 1st up and QRF crews no longer sat waiting on the call in the CP but were given radio and told to go wait in the barracks. Obviously this added to reaction time. We also had to pretty much go though NATO to launch anything outside of the traffic pattern. Frustrating to say the least from our standpoint too.

+4 # guns-n-rotors 2011-10-12 14:58
There are also other circumstances that may have contributed to this. The UH-60s that are being used in the MEDEVAC roll are the 2nd fastest birds in the fleet. Short of the CH-47s nothing can keep up with them and that includes the HH-60G Pavehawks that the USAF flies. Time is going to be added when the ambulance has to slow down for any gunship. The only other choice is to launch another hawk with the MEDEVAC and let them door gun for cover if needed. Obviously this is not going to provide the amount of protection that the 30mm from a 64 or even the miniguns/M2s of a Pavehawk would provide but the MEDEVAC crew doesnt really care, its all at the "risk management" level. I am sure you know how frustrating that can be. We can be "2 to fly" on the tarmac waiting on some pencil pecker to give us the go because of the risk assessment.

+8 # Terri 2011-10-12 14:59

Thank you for the stories and wonderful photos you have provided. It is amazing and infuriating that the issue with the army medevac helicopters exists and lives of our soldiers are being lost.

I have contacted my Senator, Bill Nelson from Florida, asking for his help regarding the issue and provided him the information in this stroy along with the link to the story and your website. I hope others do the same!
+34 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureLibby 2011-10-12 15:02
Michael, this dispatch makes it abundantly clear why you were disembedded: you give voice to those on the tip of the spear at the expense of the chain of command. Take it as a compliment that Public Affairs dislikes you and keep up the great work!
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurebth 2011-10-12 15:44
Also from the perspective of the Clark family, knowing the truth of the situation is painful but absolutely necessary. They fully realize he is not coming back. They will want to know why? Also they will want to see that his experience has tangible meaning - by that I mean that a policy procedure is changed so that Specialist Clark's comrades do not repeat this experience. So that the blood price he paid results in a lesson learned and faster response due to a policy change for his comrades.

My experience is that the only way a policy change will occur - that removes those crosses on those army helicopter go away - will be if a congressional hearing is called at the request of Spec. Clark's congressman or senator. Then a day or two before the hearing, probably on a Friday afternoon as the Pentagon 'takes out the news trash', it announce a policy review and change and as quickly the hearing will be canceled.
+9 # Jonny 2011-10-12 16:13
Good luck getting Panetta to shake the tree. Hes a bureaucrat/poli tician who knows all about budgets and nothing about the military.
0 # patrick quinn 2011-10-12 16:23
Michael...thank s for your updates...well done....keep your head down
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureray 2011-10-12 17:00
My son's in-theatre. Let me find out something like this happens to him and some General will find the least of his problems is that he might get fired.
+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureVanessa3436 2011-10-12 21:05
When my son was in-theatre I was the same as you.
I love my son more than life itself.
He came home safe from 2 tours by the Grace of G*d as I pray for your son and all who fight this good fight.
There is much shame and blood upon those that made these rules that allowed Chazray to die waiting for a ride.
You give the majority of people a little bit of power and its amazing the harm they do.
Shame on you in Army Command.
+16 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePedro 2011-10-12 18:22
I am a Pedro and we have to put up with all the politics!!..We follow all the missions and sometimes we try to lean forward knowing that we want get the mission...To get straight to the point...the Army leadership doesn't want Air Force picking their boys up! But we will be there anytime we are called on no matter what the situation!! "These things we do, that others may live"..
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJim 2011-10-12 18:40
Thanks for the update, My prayers go out to his family and all those in harms way. I find some of your stuff very hard to read because it makes me full of rage. I joined the Army Reserve a few years back when I turned 39 and I was all set to leave and my recruiter was transferred to utah so he acted like a child and shredded all his work. Due to this I aged out as they say because my new recruiter would not guarantee me my MOS which was to be MP. I scored a 97 on the ASVAB which took alot of work after being out of school so long. This is not about me, Just wanted to share the feeling of helplessness of not being there to help in some way. Keep up the good work and stay safe. I know you had published a number for people who wished to volunteer their time and skills to their local VA. I live on Long Island about 35 miles from NYC and would be happy to do something.
0 # Jim 2011-10-12 18:45
MY earlier comment was too long to include my name and email. My email is . If any of your readers has any info please feel free to contact me. Thanks again, Keep up the great work and fight the good fight.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureKen Flauding 2011-10-12 19:19
Libby has it right Michael. Thanks for having our soldiers backs. They can't say anything, but you certainly can.

Warning: You may undergo a good bit more scrutiny, if you expect to embed with Army again. If I recall, you don't have any problem with that and that's okay with me. Keep up fighting for the truth and honesty. I was a Medic for six years and had a tour in Nam. I can say how much I would appreciate someone exposing this type of serious flaw in the system. If our Commanders can't get it together to form a TRUE fighting unit...then maybe it's time for some new leadership. What are they, in High School?

This story will be shared with all of my contacts just as soon as I can copy the hyperlink and Email the story.
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureKen Flauding 2011-10-12 19:22
Bottom line: A man is seriously wounded. Get him out of there in the shortest time possible. Why the heck couldn't the Pedos have escorted the Army chopper? They could have taken off right away and the purpose served. They have the weapons the others do not. This story angers me and disappoints me deeply. Our Nation has failed Chazray Clark and his family. This is not right...and someone needs to answer for this travesty.
+1 # Vanessa3436 2011-10-12 20:56
I agree our nation has failed Chazray and his family.
Shame on all you selfish SOB's in the Army Command.
There is not one excuse that can be set forth.
+3 # Sam 2011-10-12 22:42
We used to do armed escort (we being AC Pedros) for the Army. It always comes down to Army leadership and too many of them place petty jealousies in front of sanity!!
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJimmy 2011-10-12 20:01

Many thanks for your reports. Please let the soldiers of all branches know that we, the American people, truly appreciate their dedication, sacrifice and service. Yes, this is a very sad story to read and I am sure there are others that are like it. The fact that the men and women around you Continue The Mission even after events such as this is a testament to their status as real heroes. Thank you for bringing this story out so we, too, can understand the situation.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurejetdrvr 2011-10-12 22:08
I can tell by this post that you have apparently lost your embed. You are quite controversial and I personally think you and more like you need to be out there rattling some of these careerists' cages. The Charlie Yankee Alpha attitudes that permeated the Army in the middle 60's has not disappeared all these years hence and the hard corps lifers will sacrifice guys' lives just to cover their pathetic asses. It's a crime
+1 # Will 2011-10-12 20:45
Is the problem unarmed Medevacs, waiting on Apaches or the MH60s weren't sent? Was the Apache wait because it was refueling from the Air Assault? Were the USAF MH60s available? They're only three at Bastion BTW MH60s fly in bad weather because of FLIR/weather radar, UH60s don't have. Medevacs have flight medics. Would giving Medevacs to regular army units keep flight medics attached to the bird or mixed in with other crew? Early, Yon expects a bird in the air based on his experience. Does every company on patrol in Afghanistan have a medevac? That's a lot of helicopters. How does that impact maintenance so we have them when we neeed them. Any soldier's death's a tragedy and is extremely sad. The armed Medevac might need relooking but we typically launch two helos on every mission? Was another helo available? Why not just arm it? What's driving the decision to have Medevac flights fly with an armed escort?
+2 # jay 2011-10-14 10:14
"BTW MH60s fly in bad weather because of FLIR/weather radar, UH60s don't have. Medevacs have flight medics"

The new HH-60M does have these things along with some other new toys. my unit got to field the first 12 in the army
+10 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDennis 2011-10-12 20:55
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.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuredeb 2011-10-13 05:06
Well said, Dennis... so very sadly, well said.
+3 # Neil 2011-10-12 21:09
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.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMark Brown 2011-10-12 21:27
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.
0 # Mark 2011-10-13 09:52
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).
0 # Patrick 2011-10-14 12:19
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.
+1 # MrArnie Chilton 2012-04-25 16:22
Yep I remember.He flew in didn' make any difference if the LZ was hot or not. He went in anyway. he had Grit.
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureShark 4 2011-10-12 21:34
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.
+1 # jim 2011-10-12 22:34
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.
+1 # jay 2011-10-14 10:11
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
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureOkiquit 2011-10-12 23:06
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!
+2 # Shark 4 2011-10-12 23:38
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.
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureEric 2011-10-12 22:30

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 bot h 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/deci sion 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.
-5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurewillem 2011-10-12 22:35
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.
+1 # Okiquit 2011-10-12 23:02
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.
+5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureKen 2011-10-12 23:31
What are you smoking??? Obama Era??? Which Quote:
major university medical schools
are you referring to ??? Could you post a link to this study??? Are these Quote:
Progressive medical professional
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.
-3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurewillem 2011-10-14 13:04
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.
-2 # willem 2011-10-14 13:19
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-appropria te medical delivery."

I wrote much more for each post, but length is delimited and all were edited back.
+1 # WTF?NotSoPCArmyWife 2012-08-17 23:51
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/Lef tist side of the aisle AND from the ObamaCare monstrostity forced down our throats.
0 # cmholm 2011-10-13 06:40
This isn't a proxy for moaning about the PPACA or what ever you're going on about. Take it to redstate.
+2 # SFC Earnán 2011-11-25 12:32
Willem, you should heed the common advice about remaining silent lest one be thought a fool.
+10 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePavehawk55 2011-10-12 23:21
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!
0 # deb 2011-10-13 05:02
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 :-)
+14 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBilly 2011-10-12 23:25
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/sister s 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"
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuredeb 2011-10-13 04:59
Mike, just wanted to say thanks for your service... to you and all those like you too!
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureTom 2011-10-12 23:47
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!
-3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureAir Grouch 2011-10-13 03:18
"...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.
-1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMichael Yon 2011-10-13 07:13
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.

Michael Yon
+1 # Air Grouch 2011-10-13 10:39
Read your own link, Michael, it is Medical Service Corps, not Medical Services 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.
+2 # Air Grouch57 Dustoff 2012-01-20 15:51
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.
+2 # Phillip 2011-10-27 13:37
Mr Yon,

You can go ahead and address his post now that you've been corrected.
-2 # psysim 2011-11-07 00:59
Yon is a smart assssss(sic)
+16 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurenam_medic 2011-10-13 05:26
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.
0 # Aleric 2011-10-13 11:39
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.
+20 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDavid MacDonald 2011-10-13 07:03
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, .
+1 # Terri 2011-10-13 09:57
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.
-1 # Heywood Jablomi 2011-10-13 11:34
Col. Mac:

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

Prosecution and jail would be too good for him.


Heywood Jablomi
+1 # Adam 2011-10-13 07:05
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.
+15 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureShaun 2011-10-13 08:16
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.
+25 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePowder 2011-10-13 08:42
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.
+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMartha 2011-10-13 09:04
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.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureArmy Officer 2011-10-13 10:32
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.
+2 # Aleric 2011-10-13 11:35
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.
+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureHugh 2011-10-13 08:48
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.
+2 # MikeM 2011-10-13 09:41
Focus on the third section of this article as it has to do with this discussion:

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-prioritizati on 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.
+2 # MikeM 2011-10-13 09:42
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.
+15 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJeff 2011-10-13 09:45
I say rip off the damn red crosses and arm them to the teeth.
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureRancher 2011-10-13 10:38
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.
+3 # okiquit 2011-10-13 11:00
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.
+1 # Rancher 2011-10-13 11:31
Lack of helicopters and two clips of ammo are obviously about money.
+1 # MikeM 2011-10-13 11:33
Rancher, we're short a number of things starting with the troop numbers to fight a counterinsurgen cy 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.
-27 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMsMarti 2011-10-13 10:40
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.
0 # MikeM 2011-10-13 11:31
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.
-4 # MsMarti 2011-10-13 11:51
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.
+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureAleric 2011-10-13 11:31

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.
+14 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMitch 2011-10-13 14:43
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.
-6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureGeoff 2011-10-13 18:14
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.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePhillip 2011-10-27 13:28
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.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureGeoff 2011-10-13 18:08
Amen to that.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureepador 2011-10-14 09:16
Concern Troll. Ignore
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureHeywood Jablomi 2011-10-13 12:12
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.


Heywood Jablomi
-6 # Ian 2011-10-13 12:16
I am positive that the taliban respect the red crosses ......... Jesus, Mary and Joseph, protect our brave soldiers.
+1 # Mitch 2011-10-13 14:38
Yeah right, i've seen it first hand that they don't. Not sure if you were being sarcastic or not.
+2 # AJ 2011-10-13 21:29
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
0 # Botsford 2013-07-29 20:29
I don't know Ian but, I am certain he was being quite sarcastic. :cry:
+1 # Active PEDRO 2011-10-14 00:51
no way... they dont give a crap about red crosses, come on America wake up....
+4 # Frank Burt 2011-10-14 09:38
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.
+23 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureFormer Pedro CC 2011-10-13 14:02
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/capabi lity 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.
0 # PJ 2011-10-13 21:11
Well said Sir! - PJ
0 # Active PEDRO 2011-10-14 00:54
well i agree with you...AF give us new helicopters, NOW
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureColin 2011-10-14 09:15
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.
-2 # Jonathan Colwell 2011-10-13 15:36
GOD BLESS, good pictures on this site.

find a church:
+3 # Ron 2011-10-13 20:30
Result of a shitty situation. I hope it gets cleared up. Soon.
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureLawrence L. Barker Jr. 2011-10-13 21:32
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?

+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJohn S 2011-10-13 21:40
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.
-11 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureTed 2011-10-13 23:17
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.
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureActive PEDRO 2011-10-14 01:04
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..
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJanice Stroud 2011-10-14 09:19
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/wom en.
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureSharon 2011-10-14 10:38
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!!!!!
-1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureTed 2011-10-14 13:02
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.
+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureFrag Magnet 2011-10-17 05:24
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.
0 # TedMichael Yon Author 2012-01-08 13:53

Chazray's wife and mother have given full blessings. They want me to drive this home.
-1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureNo name 2011-10-14 00:22
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.
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuressgcmw 2012-05-22 03:07
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?
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureRichard Wheeler 2011-10-14 01:46
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.
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurechris 2011-10-14 04:14
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?
0 # Linda 2011-10-14 05:06
whenever will we learn by our mistakes??????? ??????
-1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJB 2011-10-14 06:36
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.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCarlos 2011-10-14 06:58
Pedro's off duty during theatre? .....yeah, right! I doubt you have even left stateside "JB".
+5 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failureredstone 2011-10-14 07:33
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.
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMacvTm19 2011-10-14 09:20
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 !!!!!
0 # Ravi 2011-10-14 20:58
So what happened to the rest of the mission?
+18 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJohn 2011-10-14 09:27
When the truth is the most painful, is when it is the most needed.Thankful ly 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.
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuregunther 2011-10-14 20:45
Quoting 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.

well said!!
+20 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDan Daly 2011-10-14 09:31
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.
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCorey 2011-10-14 09:32
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!
+8 # Dan 2011-10-14 09:45
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 ...
+1 # Steve Adams 2011-10-14 12:16
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.
+1 # Dan 2011-10-14 14:00
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."
+8 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJ. Griffing 2011-10-14 09:54
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.
0 # Derek 2011-10-18 16:34
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"
+11 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJay 2011-10-14 09:56
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
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDan 2011-10-14 14:20
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!
-4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failurejimmy 2011-10-16 02:45
hmm repost the link effing yon deletes the link .. like always when sum1 had a good argument
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureNick 2011-10-20 03:39
MY isn't the webmaster jimmy.
+11 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMatthew 2011-10-14 10:51
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.
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMatthew 2011-10-14 10:51
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!
0 # Geoff 2011-10-14 14:43
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(somethin g 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.
+7 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureSkeej 2011-10-14 13:53
Bravo Zulu Mr Yon.
Donation made, Congressman contacted.
+2 # Dan 2011-10-14 14:16
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.
0 # USNJIMRET 2011-10-14 23:59
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 NOT 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.
+2 # USNJIMRET 2011-10-15 00:00
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 knowing 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.
+2 # withheld 2011-10-15 21:07
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.
+1 # SFC Earnán M Ret 2011-11-25 11:57
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.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBrian 2011-10-15 13:43
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.
0 # SFCAdams 2011-10-16 13:01
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" responsibilitie s!The self-crucifixti on 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!
0 # c 2011-10-30 09:02
That is so well said!
0 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureGismofly 2011-10-17 09:01
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.

+2 # Nate Brookshire 2011-10-17 11:16

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

What is the Highest Duty of a Reporter?

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.


P.S. I know you don't consider yourself a reporter, but I would be very interested in the opinions of fellow MY readers.
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMiami Phillips 2011-10-18 06:12
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
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureCarol-CS 2011-10-18 19:44
I've stated this many times before-
PC is getting our BEST killed...
Carol-Christian Soldier
+1 # Lean 2011-10-20 04:57
I see the very medivac birds and escort gunships you are talking about here in KAF, they take off and land constantly. These are very busy birds indeed.
+4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureKathleen 2011-10-20 04:58
Your account is so clear that I can feel the frustration the pilots, medevac team, and all the soldiers experienced. It is unbelievable that 10 years into this war, the OICs on the ground are not given discretion on these matters that they DO KNOW BEST. I was a nurse and officer in the USAF before this war began. We frequently went on air-evacs. Thank goodness that our unit's commanding officer, a colonel, also had no tolerance for the type of politics that endangered lives. I clearly remember him calling the Secretary of Defense in the middle of the night when we were having difficulty securing the first military aircraft within a certain airspace to land and transport our team and critically ill patient (who we had just put on heart-lung bypass)back to our tertiary care center. It seems like there may be a much more top heavy command and that they are all in a stalemate. Very sad. Very tragic. Very unacceptable.
+2 # Mike mckee 2011-10-21 04:18
You are correct, a general should be sacked, but so should the chief of the army because on his watch this has not been fixed.
I feel for the line officers who can't speak out.
Maybe it is time to name and shame the generals who need army helos to do trips?
or sack them.
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureMichael Yon 2011-10-23 23:23
Follow Up to RED AIR:

Golden Seconds: An Open Letter to Secretary Panetta and President Obama
+9 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDiane 2011-10-24 06:24
Hate to say this, but I believe my son-in-law was the "other" one that died due to the Dustoffs not being able to land until the fighter copters came in. In another article about the medivacs and medics bravery, it was about my son-in-law and how it took the Medivac 4 times to land next to him to get him. That entire time, he lay dying in his best friend's arms, while being told how much his wife and 2 baby girls loved him. This breaks my HEART that he died due to political BS. We would rather have him home, with no legs or hand, than coming home in a box. This is outrageous! God Bless you Michael for the work you're doing at keeping us all informed of the conditions our friends, children, brothers/sister s, fathers/mothers and aunts/uncles are enduring in this decade long battle. Stay safe! And God Bless Our Troops!
0 # Christina 2011-10-25 21:02
start a petition
-2 # James 2011-10-25 23:35
Yon is probably right about the Medical Service just wanting to keep control of the helicoptes for their convience and the power of status. I started flying medevac in Dester Storm. The Medical Service Corp knew nothing about operating medevac helicopters. After two days of hauling hurt and wounded to hospitals, we got orders to start doing medevac, orders we had recieved and followed earlier.
Our battalian HQ spent the four days of the ground war lost in the desert. Our guys who were with them were highly pissed! In Desert Storm, medevac success depend mainly on the initiative of individal crews. We got support mainly from maneuver elements.
+1 # Bob 2011-10-26 10:44
Part 1

Point 1: Do we have any idea whether or not the Pedros were supporting their REAL mission which is downed aircrew recovery? The USAF PJs are not there for MEDEVAC or even CASEVAC. They are dedicated CSAR assets and there are very few of them.

Point 2: One might recall Mogadishu in which armed helicopters (160th SOAR) were shot down by "primitives". So arming helicopters does not solve the concern over loss of aircraft in a contested LZ. You can put a cannon on a MEDEVAC aircraft and if it gets into a tight hole and someone shoots at it from above it is dead.

Point 3: Pedros fly in weather because they have aircraft certified for weather, including radar, Army MEDEVAC aside from HH-60s are highly constrained by many conditions in which SOF aircraft can easily fly.
0 # Pablo 2011-11-05 11:29
Pedros have been tasked with flying MEDEVAC (specifically) for a long time buddy. They are ALSO capable of executing their "REAL" CSAR/PR mission as the need arises.

-From someone who did it.
-1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBob 2011-10-26 10:50
Part 2

Point 4: Reality is reality in politics. In the same manner in which the Army lost it's cargo aircraft to the USAF who won't use it, the culture of MEDEVAC makes it unique from assault and lift and you cannot treat them like DAPs and not expect them to be pulled for that use.

Point 5: Sometimes lethal injuries are not immediately lethal OR salvageable. Before we start speculating on what would have saved the kid's life we might want to consider that he experienced significant blast and extremity trauma and may have died no matter what care he got.
0 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureBob 2011-10-26 10:56
Part 3

Putting a machine gun on a MEDEVAC does not solve this problem in any way.

Last point? You inserted by air, right? So where was the CASEVAC plan? This kid didn't die because of lack of armed MEDEVAC, he may have died because the armed helicopters that put you in didn't lager to pull out casualties when they happened. No MEDEVAC in the world is as fast as the same assault ship you just rode in on. He needed tourniquets (basic soldier/combat lifesaver level skill) and speed. I'd like to know who the mission approval authority was that approved an assault without identifying CASEVAC during the mission.
+6 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePhillip 2011-10-27 13:13
This sounds mostly like fanaticism. Greater than 90% of casualties that are stabilized prior to medevac end up surviving, is a sad story for this man's family and friends, but to say that Dustoff isn't doing its job because they lost a guy is pretty far fetched. My buddy got hit in Iraq and had to be medevac'ed, Dustoff landed in an active mine field to rescue him--without clearing an LZ. These guys are brave and they go through great lengths to save our wounded.

Also, as the gentleman stated below me, Pedros (USAF PJ's) are not a medevac unit, they are a dedicated special forces combat search and rescue asset. Their mission is such that it precludes them from standard medevacs.
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureDennis 2011-10-27 14:29
Did you miss this part?

"It is important to be absolutely clear--this is not about the Dustoff pilots and crews, who are incredibly courageous. They have earned enormous respect. They’ll fly into hell to get one of our wounded troopers. This is about politics getting in the way of saving lives."
+2 # Phillip 2011-10-27 17:09
I guess you aren't understanding me: the pilot wasn't approved to land in an active mine field--I thought that just went without saying--he did it anyway. Most of the time dustoff does an awesome job, with or without command approval, and most of the time there isn't a problem medevac'ing casualties. This is a sad, isolated, instance. In actuality, dustoff has been very successful is saving our casualties. Everyone that I have talked to that has actually been in combat, and that has actually had a real experience with dustoff, had only praise for them.
0 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailurePhillip 2011-10-27 17:17
The is an article about fabricated political problems that don't exist. Sure, there will always be problems with inter-service teamwork, or arguments in the chain of command, but all this nonsense about helicopters being saved for senior officers is pure bull. First, flag officers have their own air transport, they don't need to requisition other assets for transport, and second, each Medical Service Corps company is run by a major, so I'm not sure what "senior" officer Yon is talking about, because they just aren't around.
+1 # Derek 2011-10-30 19:44
Pedros aren't just pjs, they're pilots, Flight engineers and gunners, too. And no, our mission does not preclude us from medevacs; it puts medevac 1 priority level below CSAR. We have performed many medevacs.
0 # Rob 2011-11-08 07:25
Dennis is not arguing that the dustoff pilots are courageous and will do anything to save a soldier regardless of the "approval landing zone." He's pointing out that Micheal is saying there is a problem with the sop on medivac approval to depart. Micheal is basically saying that we should have the ability to arm a medivac or use other assest if it's going to take too long to get an escort. I completely understand that there will be delays and occasional miscommunicatio ns when you go thur chain of commands to get a medivac.
If there was a .001% chance that your fellow battles (or any for that matter) could have been saved if a policy stated (i.e.) that if armed escort is to exceed 10 min other means to secure medivac patient(s) may be used. It's a shame that a person will never know if he could have really been saved, because we can't go back in time. We can try to change the lift off procedure of the medivacs so we don't have another instance of someone saying "we could have saved him if the medivac could have lifted off sooner."
Granted I can't and won't say anything about the accusations about using choppers for themselves. I simply have no idea on that aspect of the accusations.
+2 # camocowboy777 2011-10-28 09:18

Perhaps you gentlemen would care to offer some credentials? With your seemingly first hand knowledge of these Medevac issues, you must have had lots of combat experience.
+1 # j 2011-10-30 07:12
Camocowboybob77 7 and all,

Before this devolves, my "uncredentialed " opinion is that politics are politics and you do not have to be a combat veteran to understand that. Additionally, there are plenty of combat vets who may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer...not taking away from thier service, just stating a fact...eveyone has thier own opinion. Yon has interesting stories, but guess what--he is human too and has an opinion just like everyone else, and may not see the whole picture at the tactical level. The dickheads in charge are too worried about big important things like how many eyebrow waxed french-manicure d butt-pirates will get rump ranger tabbed and inserted into the Army. Devolution complete.
+3 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureGreg 2011-11-08 13:04
I am not in the military. But how much of this is the result of mission planning failure. Isnt it the onsight commander responsiblity to have MedEvac standing by to cover a ongoing mission ? Resupply and Evac have to be top priority for mission support? Correct ? My fear is that our guys are out thier in danger while simple coordination and planning is failing them. God bless our side and all vets. Thanks.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac Failuresandy the apache 2011-11-29 06:06
It was a preventable tragedy. During Nam my good friend and fellow Marine had a similar experience. He lost both legs, and had a half dozen bad bleeders from shrapnel. He was picked up in about 25 min. by a Army dustoff. He survived the war and had a very productive life after. Time is critical to a casualties survival. What happened? Politics? the dustoffs in my day would come in so hot the tails nearly hit the deck. Was there not enough blood at the field hospital? That amount of time for a triple amputee is pure bullsh@@. With todays medical procedures there was no discernible reason that this man should have died. In Nam if you made it to the hospital the survivability ratio was 97% Hell even in Korea the survivability was in the 90th percentile. This distresses me and disgusts me they weren't landing in a firefight, there was no fire from anywhere, and no excuse for it to have taken that long.

A Fellow Serviceman
-4 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureFriend of 4-4 2011-12-09 21:17
The irresponsible piece of your otherwise outstanding work is that you have speculated on the cause of death of SPC Clark. You surmise that the 65 minutes caused his death. I agree that 65 minutes is far too long but it's wrong to jump to conclusions on the cause of death this early.

I served in Arghandab last year and experienced dozens of Medevacs. 25-30 minutes is a typical response time for either Pedro or Army assets from KAF in that area.

The injuries due to Soldiers from IEDs in these circumstances are extremely graphic and horrific. Some Soldiers survive their injuries and some die en route or later. I too have seen alert Soldiers be loaded onto a medevac only to learn later that they did not survive.

Before we jump to conclusions on the cause of death, a thorough investigation will be done and the family will get the details -- more than a supposition from Michael Yon.
+1 # Stay SafeAde 2012-01-06 13:00
To all Our Soldiers, stay safe and get home soon. [url: removed by Webmaster]
+1 # a MomSharon Brummund 2012-01-17 16:19
I don't think this is irresponsible reporting at all!! Our boys are over there risking their lives! When there is a problem that is costing lives, it needs to get fixed, without burecratic nonsense. These are our sons, and daughters, our soldiers defenders of our soil and our freedoms. They deserve the very best!. Thank God someone is telling us the truth of how these boys are being treated when they are at their most vulnerable. I think the politicians should be required to do a tour of duty at the front lines, then you will see some changes!!.
+4 # DUSTOFF!Jason LaCrosse 2012-01-18 08:38
good article, I am a MEDEVAC Pilot and have been with MEDEVAC for 15 years, i have 4 combat deployments, earned the Silver Star and German Medal of Honor all on one MEDEVAC Mission in Konduz on 2 April 2010. I will agree with alot of what you said but disagree on the Pedro piece. Having worked with the PEDRO's on all my tours i can tell you this, they take longer to launch (ex. soldier injured it took them 5 hours to get him back to KAF, due to it being a hoist mission and they had to dump fuel then clal in a c-130 for fuel to make it back), they can only carry one patient, possibly 2 depending on the altitude because of how heavy they are, etc.. etc.. MEDEVAC crews are ready to launch on every 9 line under 10 minutes , they have a 15 launch criteria, if they are delayed it is because of maintenance, or higher up trying to make a decision. I think you should embed yourself with a DUSTOFF crew to get first hand experience of what happens and how. DUSTOFF!
+3 # FLIRAndrew Inman 2012-01-18 13:30
I don't know who is feeding you guys your information, but ALL US Army MEDEVAC helicopters in Afghanistan are equipped with FLIR STAR SAFIRE II. The UH-60A+ helicopters utilized by most of the DUSTOFF crews in Afghanistan are 25% faster than the MH-60G utilized by the AF. That said, as a MEDEVAC UH-60 Instructor Pilot who was awarded the Air Medal for Valor in Helmand, I am all in favor of removing the red cross and arming our birds to the teeth. The enemy sees the red cross that adorns our birds, and knows that we will not be shooting back.
0 # AuthorMichael Yon Author 2012-01-26 05:33
Interesting thoughts here from a Dustoff pilot:
0 # More articles appearing on the MEDEVAC ScandalMichael Yon Author 2012-02-02 06:54
0 # So much BSEric_StrattonIII 2012-03-10 15:08
I have interacted with Army MEDEVACs since O4' & 10' in Iraq, 07', 08' and 11' in Afghanistan and they have always been the same when talking to them DIRECTLY. They will not land in a Hot LZ, they will not go without a escort and they will not exactly rush to get an indig. These protocols were instituted by their leaders and while many pilots said they would do what they could to get there I found out the hard way that was BS. Last June we got hit in an ambush an it was almost 2 hours until I got to the clinic in Tarin Kowt. I pretty much wound up bleeding out, having to get 30 units of blood and plasma over a few days, KAF docs saved my life in the end and I was lucky to get the treatment I did. The Helos themselves were over us within 30 mins but they remained in standby until the AW platforms came in. Joke. Sorry, the Army MEDEVACs system is greatly flawed and terribly lead and in my opinion your medics are also bloody horrible. The guy could not get an IV stick in the most severely wounded of us until the helo touched down. He had great veins in his hands but the Medic kept going for the AC space even though the kid had an injury to his arm. Again, joke. Having worked with your 68W's I assume that they (flight medics) are also slow to adopt the proper TCCC protocols and instead appeared to adopt the EMT-P protocols.
The Army should not call themselves Combat MEDEVACs, you should be renamed "Lifeflight". Give me Air Force or Marine Birds any day. I have also seen Army Kiowas land to get guys before your guys will, so YOU and YOUR Community are to blame, not the AO Commanders, YOU.

The excuses I hear about not being able to get enough gunships to support are amazing to me!! Either push to arm your helos or go without gunships or rename yourselves and stop acting like you are "Combat" MEDEVACs, at least then we will be honest with ourselves.
0 # Sorry to StrattonIIIMAJ Jonathan Hartman 2012-06-11 03:27
Apologies to you Eric. I can tell you that in my 10 years and 4 deployments with MEDEVAC units, I don't share your sentiments, although I may be biased. Is the system perfect? Absolutely not. But I'm surprised to hear about your experience. I will say that since MEDEVAC units have been under control of the Aviation branch, some unnecessary control measures have been put in place that cause delays that are unwarranted.

You mention '04 in Iraq. Can't speak for other units at the time, but I assure you that during the initial Iraq 'conflict' in '03 as well as our follow up '04-'05 deployment, my unit flew mostly single ship MEDEVAC missions. In the latter portion of the '04-'05 deployment we began to catch flack from AV about single ship ops, so we would fly dual ship - MED/MED - no slicks. Looking back, I can tell you that single ship was just stupid - not for enemy threat on the PZ, but issues enroute. The day you have to put an aircraft down with no escort, is a bad day. That thought alone really made me reconsider my aversion to mandatory dual-ship missions.
Somewhere along the line, however, a lot of red tape got interjected by AV leadership. This simply wasn't part of the equation in the seperate MEDEVAC units before aviation transformation - and we flew with crosses and no guns. This really isn't an issue of crosses or guns, it's an issue of risk aversion and the ability to look at the MEDEVAC mission as what it is - a medical mission. It's not a general support aviation mission - hauling A&T. It requires some flexibility and acceptance of risk. In my opinion - IN MY OPINION - this has been the biggest difference since MEDEVAC has been an AV mission - things are looked at a bit too analytically when time and urgency just doesn't allow for it. There is the other side of the coin that the MEDEVAC mission and it's urgency creates an aversion to planning when time allows - I've seen both sides.
Having said all of this there are some senior leaders out there that do get it - my last brigade commander was one of them. We would launch pretty much no questions asked. Time was of the essence and he accepted the additional risk. He got it, and the system worked very well because he did.
0 # Sorry doesn't quite get iteric_Strattoniii 2012-06-13 01:46
Major, I appreciate you coming on a site an actually apologizing but the problem is systemic. I always made it a point to talk to the MEDEVAC and CAS pilots any chance I could when on an airbase if I knew they would be acting in support of us. Since Summer of 04' and spring of 10' in OIF, again in OEF 07', 08' and 11' the story was the same- they will not land in a hot LZ, they will not go without a gunship as escort and they took forever to adopt TCCC. I am not talking single ship, I am talking Medical bird and gunship support, (AH-64's). We like AWT too but we don't not do our mission without them. You are supposed to be "Combat" MEDEVAC or CASEVAC, whatever you would like to call it. You should not call yourself that if you refuse to land in a hot HLZ, refuse to land or go to target without gunship support and for a while refused to train your people like combat medics instead of flight paramedics. All these things get people killed and you are essentially "Lifeflight" when you act in the manner you do. Outside of the helo colors and rank of pilots what is really the difference between what you do and Lifeflight? Think about that for a second-you won't land in a dangerous area, you won't go or land w/out gunships support and your medics are trained as Flight EMT-Ps. What is the essential difference? Not arming the helos is an unfortunate side effect of a senior leadership that lacks moral courage, that is not on you guys. The rest of the problems are institutional and are on you guys.

This quote-" my last brigade commander was one of them. We would launch pretty much no questions asked. Time was of the essence and he accepted the additional risk. He got it, and the system worked very well because he did" That is great that you guys took off in time, they did for me as well, many others got to the area in time but they would not land unless the HLZ was cold and they had gunships to get any potential hazards. It does not do anyone any good if you take off and get to the HLZ in time if all you do is make circles and stand off, the people who need your help are on the ground. You are just finally training your medics to TCCC fully, great but the wars are almost over. A wee to little, a wee to late. There is loads of proof on this website alone, never mind my story. When I see a policy that allows the pilots to make the call to land, if they are open to allowing them to arm themselves and/or letting the pilots make the call if they need gunship support then I will think that the Army MEDEVAC system is worth a spit, until then I would prefer to work with anyone else I can. I am sure you are a good guy and I know a lot of the pilots hated the policies, fix it or you are part of the problem.
0 # RE: Sorry doesn't quite get itMAJ Jonathan Hartman 2012-06-13 03:35
"At the start of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001, the Army was the only service that had incorporated Tactical Combat Casualty Care into its basic combat medical personnel training program As experience from the war has been gained and the success of TCCC on the battlefield has been documented..."

Lessons Learned in Developing a Military Medical Lessons Learned ... by Iris A CDR, NC, USN Boehnke and Frank K Jr, CAPT, MC, USN (RET Butler and Ann CAPT, MC, USN (RET Yos / Military Medicine

Just a quote from a very cursory search. You have so much misinformation in your post it's not even worth further discussion. You obviously have it figured out. Our medics are trained as EMT-Ps...really ...? This is the most laughable part of your post. You should research the latest changes to the flight medic program. Seriously man, if you're going to discredit so many people, you really need to get at least half of your facts in order. "You won't land in a dangerous area." Yeah, crazy, I'm still trying to figure out how birds came back with bullet holes... Total waste of time...
0 # You are kidding right?eric_Strattoniii 2012-06-13 09:52
Major, I'm an 18D, big army did not incorporate TCCC fully into their training program till 2004-05, that paper might say they did but it is BS. At Camp Slayer the 68W were still using old NATO bandages, their bosses refused to train them on quickclot, they did not go by the mandated TCCC protocols, etc...Combat Life Saver was still teaching the old civilian protocols at the time.

"At the start of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001, the Army was the only service that had incorporated Tactical Combat Casualty Care" This is just pure propaganda. TCCC was the result of the Navy, NSW in particular and it started in 1996,Butler was the lead. The USMC and Navy issued out actual blow out kits with the things that TCCC suggested prior to the start of OIF, the Army did not. If you saw guys that were 68Ws that were well trained on TQs, QC, Hespan/Hetastar ch, 2003' or prior, well, then you must have seen a Unicorn or at the very least a rare new animal. The Army was still not training it's people on volume expanders at the time and I did not see "Big Army" teaching the protocols until about 2005, so I am not sure what wazoo book you cite ha the balls to publish that but it is not accurate. Who knows, maybe a couple of GOs actually said they should implement TCCC protocols into 68Ws training but I did not see ANY of them familiar with the protocols before 05'. That would be like me saying, 'In 2005 I got the service to implement a new bandage and approve it and even though it did not get introduced out to everyone till a few years later I still say we had it in 2005' You are smoking something brother if you think they did adopt it in 2001'.
0 # Continuederic_Strattoniii 2012-06-13 09:55
As for Butler, go to SOMA this year, I'll be there and so will Butler, this is a topic that is often taken up down there-"How to get the conventionals to buy in", because if you are then the medic I saw on the helo that day must have missed the class. I witnessed it time after time, your 68Ws not getting the support from a lot of the Army MDs and PAs, yeah, I know there are some good ones too but a lot don't want to trust their people. 68Ws were all about TCCC around 07' at least, might have been the total craze by 2005' even but even your own GOs admit that the Flight Medics were not getting what they needed. The only people who adopted TCCC protocols pretty quickly on the conventional side were the FMF Corpsman, Butler might be on that book but we have talked to him and complained about Big Army for years, it was not until the last couple of years your flight medics started coming on board really with new training protocols and the regular Army, despite what the book says, did not have wide spread use of those TCCC protocols until at least 2005'. We work with your guys, we are on your bases here and overseas, it is not those kids fault, it is again the fault of their leaders. There are loads of memos and papers on this site alone that back up my view, you can wish it was not the way it is, you can pray it was not the way it is but that was the way it was. You quote this and I even talk about it-"changes to the flight medic program.", yup, you are changing it, 10 years after the start of the wars. You keep drinking the Kool Aid Major. Again, the initial training for them was based on Flight EMT-Ps, some guys cannot make the transfer over to TCCC but they get it, it is just how is it implemented and who is their boss. I still see MDs not want to do things like we are in a combat zone, so please, save me the spin when your own org has admitted to need to change training.
0 # Flight Protocolseric_Strattoniii 2012-06-13 10:01
As for your flight protocols, please, by all means, tell me I am wrong on that too. "I'm still trying to figure out how birds came back with bullet holes", yeah, I am sure they have, we have lied to get you guys to land at times, lied to you guys to come for indigs and folks fire at you in the air, it is a combat zone. YOU WILL NOT LAND ON A HOT LZ, that is a mantra when I talk to MEDEVACs, if they are, then they are doing it rarely. Those were the exact words given to me by every squadron at JBAD, BAF and KAF, so yeah I don't buy it. Tell me when you guys start going out with no gunship support? Tell me when you guys don't say in a brief prior that you will land on a Hot LZ? Tell me when the pilot is given the choice and trust to do what he/she thinks is needed. IF that has changed this last year, great, fantastic, awesome and about time. I have 5 tours that says I am not wrong but maybe they finally changed this year, like Yon has been pushing for? Like that paper that is on here advocated for. Yet, somehow I remain a skeptic. The MDs at KAF and BAF are amazing, the medics on the helos want to do the right thing, the pilots told me they would come if it was an emergency (that turned out not be a consistent view of course), etc..but the policy goes counter to all of that, or at least it did up to 11'. I even get that folks don't want fallen angels but the risk averse mentality if rampant and is has caused the problems I have seen and that are talked about on here.

You are probably a good guy, care about your org but if you are not going to see that most of this stuff on here has been going on for a decade and that they are just now changing then you are not being honest with yourself. If it changed totally in the last year, hey, that is fantastic but not let's act like the Army is known for radical change unless the Germans or Japanese Empires are at our doors again, that was the last time I saw the Army quickly adapt. I am sure that individual flight crews were doing those things you talk about all the time but they were the exception, not the rule.
+1 # Eric StrattoniiMichael Yon Author 2012-06-13 10:08
The upper Army has become so used to this disinformation that they do not seem to realize that we actually see it and are calling bullshit. Tell your SF buddies they are not alone; there are quite a number of upper conventional officers who are fully tracking and working this, too. I communicate with some of them regularly and they say this campaign is breaking ribs and that we should keep slugging. Best to you and your buddies and thank you for slugging on this.
+1 # RE: Eric StrattoniiMAJ Jonathan Hartman 2012-06-13 11:01
Best to you, too. 18D, huh..? Well if you're looking at conventional to adopt things at the same time/pace, and have access to the same equipment as SOF, then you're out of touch with the conventional force - especially over the last decade. I appreciate your passion, I really do. I guess I just feel like you paint with a really broad brush, and thinking back to my 48 months - all but 6 of which was spent executing MEDEVAC EVERY day for conventional, SOF, coalition, civilians, whomever, I just have a hard time when someone chalks it up to Lifeflight - really is a slap in the face to an entire community, and a crap-ton of soldiers. Always room for improvement everywhere across the force (recalling conversations with ODA teams in 07/08 bitching about recruitment and the quality of their new members). I wish you well.
0 # Oye! Your killing smalls, killing me.eric_Strattoniii 2012-06-13 11:24
TCCC and the kit that goes with it are not SOF specific, not hard and are almost a throwback to Vietnam. When we first went through 18D they taught EMT-P protocols too, then TCCC came along and we realized we would get folks killed if we kept that way. Big Army did not go with it until at least late 04' from what I saw of their training and equipping overseas and at home. By the way, I am not Army, ALL branches of SOF go to the 18D courses now with the exception of the AF. MARSOC, NSW, Rangers, CivAffairs, etc..all go to the school house in Bragg. The Protocols are easy and they were not adopted by the Big Army in 2001 and while I know it is a "broad brush", brother, if there had been at least ONE time where ONE Sqd. did not tell me that those were their protocols then I would be second guessing myself but not once did it happen when I went to talk to them and that was as late as 2011'. You combine that with what I saw first hand and the had happen to me first hand, well, it's gonna color my views a bit. Hey, there are memos and papers all over this site alone that back up the view that the bosses in your community suck and do not want to chance the blowback.
I do like your back handed comment though
" Always room for improvement everywhere across the force (recalling conversations with ODA teams in 07/08 bitching about recruitment and the quality of their new members). I wish you well." not attempting to imply anything are you? ;)
I don't expect Big Army to adapt or even adopt the things that SOF does as quickly, I also do not expect them to take 10 years to change their corporate culture in while two conflicts are going on.

Michael, I know how this BS works, I almost spit up my coffee when I saw the thing about the Army being the only branch to adopt TCCC in 2001'. The unfortunate part is that a lot of the 06's and above have still not lead men in combat so they are used to the pre-war mentality and still don't get it, all I can hope is that a lot of the good JOs and E7's and 8's continue to fight this and other idiocy as they rise up the ranks.

Jon, wish you well too, I don't blame the JOs and the Medics man, it is ALWAY the fault of the leadership in these cases. So instead of acting like this stuff is not accurate, screaming at the top of your lungs how these posts are not right, why not try to help continue to change things for the better? Your an 04 now, you have influence, use it.
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureSTC Technologies 2012-04-24 05:39
Well I really enjoyed studying it. This information offered by you is very effective for good planning.STC Technologies
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureVirginia Gentleman 2012-04-29 07:54
Always a sobering but inspiring website to visit. I try to visit once a week before leading my congregation in worship. I will be in prayer for our forces in Afgh. once again today.
Blessings on you Michael.
+3 # **** pedrodustoff pilot 2012-05-05 07:15
I have seen men bleed for an additional 42 minutes in the last 72 hours because a high ranking air force general prefers his Pedro assets to take the high profile/news worthy missions even when dustoff units are much much closer to the fight and could be there much sooner. I have seen pedro fly 25 minutes to a point of injury when a dustoff unit was already cleared for take off at a small fob 1.8km from the bleeding men. ***** PEDRO
+1 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureJohn Hungerford 2012-06-17 13:36
Extremely frustrating and angering!
+2 # RE: Red Air: America’s Medevac FailureChris Higgins 2012-09-17 02:32
Reading the comments here, Reading Michael's blog and talking with a number of soldiers serving in OEF, I think it is fair to say the system is broken. The top levels of the chain of command are so risk averse they will not send their folks out to pick up the wounded unless they feel guaranteed they will take no casualties. The number one complaint I hear from platoon leaders is getting proper medivac. These junior officers spend hours getting their soldiers properly taken care of. Getting someone with the authority to do the right thing when protocol needs modification is way too difficult. This is a problem with roots in the highest levels of the chain of command. It is sad this issue remains open 10 years into this war.

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