Michael's Dispatches

Red Air: America’s Medevac Failure

133 Comments

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

12 October 2011
Afghanistan

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.

00020MTSStill001cc1000

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.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    in_awe · 7 years ago
    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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James Kemp · 7 years ago
    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
  • This commment is unpublished.
    BobH · 7 years ago
    I bet this will bring down a storm of complaint about how you raise the question, instead of focus on answering the question.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark R · 7 years ago
    A Case of Corporate Manslaughter perhaps?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RattlerGator · 7 years ago
    Devastating report, Michael. I will try and spread what little word that I can in honor of Chaz .
  • This commment is unpublished.
    F Thomas · 7 years ago
    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.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Ann B · 5 years ago
      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.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Michael Yon Author · 5 years ago
        Ann,

        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
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry Sheridan · 7 years ago
    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
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Catamounts · 7 years ago
      Michael,

      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."
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Catamounts · 7 years ago
        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.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Melissa · 6 years ago
          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!
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Justin · 6 years ago
          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.
          • This commment is unpublished.
            Eric_StrattonIII · 6 years ago
            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.
            • This commment is unpublished.
              copter · 6 years ago
              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.
              • This commment is unpublished.
                NotSoPCArmyWife · 6 years ago
                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/unable 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.
                • This commment is unpublished.
                  eric_strattoniii · 6 years ago
                  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.
                  • This commment is unpublished.
                    copter · 6 years ago
                    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...actually, 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.
                    • This commment is unpublished.
                      eric_strattoniii · 6 years ago
                      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.
                      • This commment is unpublished.
                        copter · 6 years ago
                        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/funding?..yup, big Army problem. Comparing SOF in this is like comparing Air Force and Army. $$$$$$$ Preach to the Choir on that one.
                        • This commment is unpublished.
                          eric_strattoniii · 6 years ago
                          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, etc...it 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.
                          • This commment is unpublished.
                            copter · 6 years ago
                            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 time..like 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.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        P McMannus · 6 years ago
        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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Brown · 7 years ago
    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/Medevacs 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!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Bullwhip vet · 7 years ago
      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.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      NotSoPCArmyWife · 6 years ago
      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-inspired? 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.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    andy fr dc · 7 years ago
    Our generals are chosen for their subservience to PC and their ability to play politics. Why is this fiasco a surprise?
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    snow · 7 years ago
    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.
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      Epador · 7 years ago
      This vile BS contradicts what every DUSTOFF and PEDRO represents.
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      Former Pedro CC · 7 years ago
      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.
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      Neal · 6 years ago
      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.
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      Justin · 6 years ago
      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????
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      NotSoPCArmyWife · 6 years ago
      Snow:

      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.
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        NotSoPCArmyWife · 6 years ago
        My last sentence should read "....they should immediately resign in shame."
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    Peter, in MN · 7 years ago
    Michael, HE has given you wisdom and courage. This is a profoud article. Continue.
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    Crex39 · 7 years ago
    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.
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      Courtney · 6 years ago
      Why the Air Force out of all the branches?
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        Old MSgt · 4 years ago
        (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.
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    Joe · 7 years ago
    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
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    Dad · 7 years ago
    My son sat with a buddy who died last year because of "Red Air".........unacceptable.
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      Justin · 6 years ago
      @Dad, I am sorry to hear that. "Red Air" call may refer to weather, but still sorry to hear that.
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    nellie · 7 years ago
    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?
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    No Name Given · 7 years ago
    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.
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    No Name Given · 7 years ago
    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.
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    J. Wittlich · 7 years ago
    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?
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    haakondahl · 7 years ago
    Good luck waiting for relief from Panetta. Now Pace is out, and Jamie Gorelick is in, Albright too.
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    Bill Finegan · 7 years ago
    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!
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      David Quin · 7 years ago
      I looked, but was unable to find it...wonder if it had been pulled?
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        Bill Finegan · 7 years ago
        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.
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    Robin Carey · 7 years ago
    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
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    Jean Bailey · 7 years ago
    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?
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      Epador · 7 years ago
      How many A-10's could we build for an F-22?
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    Staci · 7 years ago
    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.
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    V-Man · 7 years ago
    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.
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    Paul Fleming · 7 years ago
    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.
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      Justin · 6 years ago
      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.
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    Leyla Najma · 7 years ago
    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!
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    Jim · 7 years ago
    The Army keeps the red crosses because it is a very politically correct organization.
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    Renee · 7 years ago
    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??
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    Joe Murray · 7 years ago
    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.
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      dustoff · 7 years ago
      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.
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      Becky · 7 years ago
      Why was it not "fixed" under Petreaus????
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    Charles · 7 years ago
    Michael,

    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.
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    Patrick Cahill · 7 years ago
    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.
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    Charles · 7 years ago
    Michael,
    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.
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    Jbad04 · 7 years ago
    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!
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    Bob Pratt · 7 years ago
    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....

    Bob
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    guns-n-rotors · 7 years ago
    Michael,

    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.

    continued..
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      guns-and-rotors · 7 years ago
      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.
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      guns-n-rotors · 7 years ago
      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.
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        Frank Ch. Eigler · 7 years ago
        "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?
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      guns-n-rotors · 7 years ago
      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.
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      Samuel Dennewitz · 7 years ago
      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.
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        Old MSgt · 4 years ago
        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.)
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    guns-n-rotors · 7 years ago
    Michael,

    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.

    Continued
  • This commment is unpublished.
    guns-n-rotors · 7 years ago
    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.

    Continued...
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    Terri · 7 years ago
    Michael,

    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!
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    Libby · 7 years ago
    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!
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    bth · 7 years ago
    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.
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    Jonny · 7 years ago
    Good luck getting Panetta to shake the tree. Hes a bureaucrat/politician who knows all about budgets and nothing about the military.
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    patrick quinn · 7 years ago
    Michael...thanks for your updates...well done....keep your head down
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    ray · 7 years ago
    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.
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      Vanessa3436 · 7 years ago
      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.
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    Pedro · 7 years ago
    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"..
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    Jim · 7 years ago
    Michael,
    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.
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    Jim · 7 years ago
    MY earlier comment was too long to include my name and email. My email is jkarthaus@gmail.com. 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.
    J.
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    Ken Flauding · 7 years ago
    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.
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    Ken Flauding · 7 years ago
    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.
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      Vanessa3436 · 7 years ago
      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.
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      Sam · 7 years ago
      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!!
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    Jimmy · 7 years ago
    Michael:

    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.
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      jetdrvr · 7 years ago
      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
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Will · 7 years ago
    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?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      jay · 7 years ago
      "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

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