Michael's Dispatches

17 Members of Congress Want Answers on MEDEVAC


medevac letter to secdef 02-03-12-1

medevac letter to secdef 02-03-12-2

medevac letter to secdef 02-03-12-3 

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marlin Helms · 10 years ago
    Thank you for birddogging this, I and I am sure many others appreciate the effort.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Zingg · 10 years ago
    Michael, None of this would have happened without your work! We will be forever grateful to you. Your work continues to be outstanding but this particular work may well stand out as your pinnacle effort. You do, in your own way, represent the essence of what it is to be an American!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Russell Schroeder · 10 years ago
    How many combat and medivac helicopters were left in or given to Iraq? Could many of them not have been transfered to Afghanistan?
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    Steven · 10 years ago
    I sure am glad to see my Congressman, Joe Wilson's name on that letter.
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    Mike Barnett · 10 years ago
    For those who say the hard work won't pay off, I would counter that it has indeed started. Now, we must redouble our efforts and quadruple the signers to this letter. Michael, thank you for all you have done for our troops.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rex Schrader · 10 years ago
    Man, warms my engineer heart to see the request for data. Assuming they don't duck the question, everything should become clear very rapidly. Unless they cook the numbers . . .

    Still, you can't use fancy platitudes to avoid the reality of the differences in deployment times.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    annie · 10 years ago
    Great letter to panetta. Now we'll wait and see what kind of response it gets. At least these Reprosentatives grasp the problem.
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    Larry Schwartz · 10 years ago

    Actually, they don't grasp the problem/issue. The real issue is why the Army will not do something different/change their policies, such as remove the red crosses and let the birds that evacuate casualties be armed like the Marines and Air Force are already doing.

    Also, in the letter they brought up the question of why more attack helicopters are not being sent to A'stan. This just opens up another way for them the avoid answering the real question/issue...they gave big Army a way out, whether intentionally or not.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Serge · 10 years ago
    "These delays are apparently due to the dearth of attack helicopters to escort medical evacuation helicopters." Huh? ;-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barney Brenner · 10 years ago
    Kudos to these members of Congress for their efforts at preserving the lives of our men and women in uniform. If this leads to a needed shake-up among the brass, all the better.
    It would be additionally helpful if some members of the President's party would add their names to this letter. There's not a single one there at this time.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heywood Jablomi · 10 years ago
    My sincere congratulations to these Congressmen and Congresswomen. I am deeply grateful for their attention to this important issue.

    There is no question that issues of policy are interfering with the optimal evacuation of wounded soldiers. There can be no excuses, no rationales, no explanations, to justify this. If we lose just ONE service member when they could have been saved by a faster evacuation, then everything that can effect these changes in policy must be undertaken.

    If Rules of Engagement need to be modified, modify them.

    If "ownership" of the airframes needs to be addressed, then address it.

    If authority to launch, and authority to land and effect evacuation needs to be pushed down to the aircraft commander and to the commander on the ground, then do it. Make the changes.

    Above all, quit screwing around. Quit wasting time. Quit putting service members lives in danger for bad reasons of policy.

    Downsize the staff weenies in the Pentagon! Not the grunts.

    Begin with the worthless Sergeant-Major of the Army (SMA), a political Command Sergeant-Major if there ever was one. How long did he homestead at the Sergeants-Major Academy? How many years? During the height of the war?

    Was there no veteran, no veteran of multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to promote to SMA? Instead we promote a bureaucratic jackass who has the balls to ask soldiers how many of them are wearing their dog tags?

    Get this through your head, SMA: I do not care whether a soldier has his dog tags on his person. I want to know how much combat that he has seen, and where. So should you.

    Do us all a favor and retire! You waste of oxygen! You are emblematic of what is wrong with the Army today!

    That is all.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank · 10 years ago

    To:Micheal and all the folks who wrote replies and shared their viewpoints. We need this type of effort for the Mexican border.

    Great Job!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ann Golden · 10 years ago
    Kudos to these 17. You bet they know we're backing them up. Watch their backs.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Doc911 · 10 years ago
    Wow..17 politicians with spines...I'm "shocked and awed".

    To bad none of them are running for President of your great land...

    Good fight...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JB · 10 years ago
    for the SAME reason they hog ISR and CAS assets. Because once they get something they refuse to give it back. They dont care who dies because of it. The more stuff you have the bigger budget you get the more bullets on your OPR the more funding goes your way and the better chance you have at success just based of MASS.
    They couldnt care less if some unit is taking fire or casualties. They have it and they will keep it. There is so much political gain ( not dem -rep) to be had.
    They want to have Helo's to tool around in and if they let someone else use them then maybe a guys that can use them will. Then when your worthless NON LINE Officer needs a ride its not there.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim McLaughlin · 10 years ago
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    Phyllis Wolfe · 10 years ago
    Getting the red crosses off and putting guns on the medevacs will only solve part of the problem. The launch authority--the process and chain of command that gives the okay to launch--also needs to be improved. Arming the choppers won't matter one bit if they have to sit and wait for launch authority.

    The Aviation and AMEDD people closest to that launch authority process should look at how it can be made faster. They're the experts and they're the people who can suggest improvements. Getting buy-in from those higher up to actually implement those improvements will then be a lot easier.

    I hope our representatives understand that.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JB · 10 years ago
    As long as we breed risk adverse in our corps it will be a cancer. As an O our corps is overrun with "leaders" that lead by the least risk. If they have a chance of getting burned they won't act. Its better to lose guys in a fight you can call fog of war on than send in an ARF or QRF and have it lit up and all lost.

    Look at the monday am qb from the 47 down in august. Every time we lose a helo ( because of more than just tactics or bad luck) someone gets slaughtered from command.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark Mako · 10 years ago
    I'm very happy to see my representative's signature here - Rob Whitmann of VA. When are we going to see a similar letter signed by Senators? I've contacted both of mine and one, Jim Webb, is siding with the Army...I don't get it. He's a Marine, his son is a Marine...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Troy · 10 years ago
    Michael and readers: Saw this column and thought everyone here would find it quite interesting reading:

    http://armedforcesjournal.com/2012/02/89040 0
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kate · 10 years ago
    MICHAEL, please advise re the Army has been given orders for 2-week stand down w/o pay with a 75,000 troop reduction, other branches to follow.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bohica · 10 years ago
    Interesting to see the names on here. Where are those who always use soldiers as props at election time?

    I agree with Heywood and others. A SMA worth a shit would have had this fixed already.

    There is also zero need to jack around for weeks studying this issue. Congress simply needs to talk to a few pilots and take action since the Army has decided to sit on their hands once again.

    I miss Hackworth, but Mike, you are doing a great job at filling his boots where taking care of soldiers is concerned.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Nguyen · 10 years ago
    Why only 17? Where are the rest?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arnold L. Goldman · 10 years ago
    Shortened by me: Dear Dr. Goldman,
    Thank you for your message regarding Army MEDEVAC helicopters. Ensuring the health and safety of our service members is a top priority for Senator Blumenthal. Senator Blumenthal will always stand up for the rights of our service members and will be sure to keep your views in mind when considering legislation regarding the health of our Armed Forces. As you mention, Army MEDEVAC helicopters, whose sole purpose is to evacuate service members whose injuries require that they be moved to a medical facility, are marked with a red cross on the side of each helicopter. This enables the Army to comply with the Geneva Conventions, which form the core of international humanitarian law and the laws of war. The United States signed the Conventions in 1949 and is thereby bound to respect certain laws, including the requirement that purely medical vehicles be unarmed and clearly designated. Army helicopters always travel in pairs with at least one armed escort, no matter what the mission. Having weapons on the MEDEVAC helicopter would add weight and consume space needed for medical equipment such as stretchers. Senator Blumenthal understands the difficult decisions that arise when fighting an enemy that does not necessarily respect the Geneva Conventions or other laws of war. He has heard from Army medics and commanders who strongly oppose arming the helicopters or otherwise violating the Geneva Conventions. Following the Conventions and abiding by the rule of law is a crucial element that separates the United States from its enemies.


    Jenna Spinks
    Legislative Correspondent
    Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal
    (202) 224-282
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shannon Wilson · 10 years ago
    Thank you, Michael for following this story. I wrote my representative last week and asked him to also look in to this matter. I received a response yesterday and directed his Legislative Correspondent to your website. She responded this morning that she has contacted Rep. Adkin's office and asked them to keep their office apprised of the situation. I hope that it is not just talk and that Rep. Inslee will also jump on board. Keep up your fantastic work. As a veteran, former military wife and sister to a military member I appreciate all you do.

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