Why are members of Congress listening to idiots like Mike Yon?

I have been largely silent on the recent topic in the news about arming MEDEVACS and removing the red crosses painted on them. This all started with a self-loving douche named Mike Yon.

Let me be clear, Mike Yon was in the Army. He was in Special Forces for a short-time period. Actually his time in the Army was short. He also killed a man in bar-fight right after earning his Green Beret. Good for him for his short service, at least it was service. Shame on him for bringing embarrassment to the Army for killing a civilian in a bar-fight. He never served in combat, but that is ok. There are many that have never served in combat.

So lets look at these credentials. He knows good military training, from back in the day. He also knows how to take another person’s life, granted not for good or justifiable reasons.

He has also been dis-embedded from multiple units in Afghanistan and is pretty much not being allowed back into country now to embed with anyone. It could be because he crosses over to what could be considered as unethical stories. He has been accused of violating operational security. He has also lashed out at any military command that does not allow him to embed (he did this with the Navy after the Japan disaster and the Army multiple times).

But like I said at least he has served. He belongs to a long list of great people that have served this country. However serving does not make you above the law, or perfect, or right in every situation. Just ask Lynddie England, Timothy McViegh, or Bradley Manning. They all have served in the Army. Does that make them great people that deserve respect regardless of what they have done? I think not.

Anyway, for some reason Mike Yon who has never served in combat, but has embedded with many military units in combat is now a subject matter expert on the use of MEDEVACS and how they are marked and what their mission is in combat. I have never played professional football but I have been to many games and have hours playing EA’s Madden football game on my computer and Xbox. That does not make me subject matter expert on how to play or what it is like or what plays to call. Just an analogy there on how stupid it is for anyone to listen to Mike Yon and his full-of-shit opinion about strategy and doctrine. He is nothing more than an arm-chair general who thinks he is in the “know” and is so full of himself that if he could get through life with making love to himself, I think he would. 

Mike has capitalized on an incident that happened while he was embedded in Afghanistan before he was kicked out. He is on a kick to try and get the Army to remove the red crosses from the MEDEVAC helicopter and to arm them like CASEVAC helicopters are some times. You may be asking, what is the difference? Let me point you to Aerovac World, which is a social networking site for professionals in the Aerovac Evacuation industry. You can find more at http://www.aerovacworld.com/showthread.php?221-Difference-between-CASEVAC-MEDEVAC-and-AEROVAC

CASEVAC
CASEVAC uses non standardized and non dedicated vehicles that do not provide en route care. The service exists to transport casualties that are in dire need for evacuation from the battlefield and do not have time to wait on a MEDEVAC, or where a MEDEVAC is unable to get to the casualty. Essentially it is any helicopter or vehicle that can get into an area and evacuate an injured member with or without a medical crew and/or equipment.

According to AFTTP3-42.5
Casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), a term used by all Services, refers to the movement of unregulated casualties aboard vehicles or aircraft.

MEDEVAC or DUSTOFF
The Army has a long history of medevac via helicopter starting with the 57th Medical Detachment back in 1962. The history of the DUSTOFF mission can be found on their website http://www.dustoff.org/history/history.htm

DUSTOFF is a standardized and dedicated vehicle providing en route care. They are traditionally on UH-1 Huey’s and UH-60’s Blackhawks. They can be easily identified with the Red Cross symbol on the nose and sides of the helicopter. One other identifiable mark with medevac’s is they do not have gunners aboard like the Air Force medics had. DUSTOFF medics are extremely skilled at what they do and are highly regarded as some of the best medics around. For more information about DUSTOFF, please visit www.dustoff.org.

According to AFTTP3-42.5
Medical evacuation
(MEDEVAC), on the other hand, traditionally refers to US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard patient movement using predesignated tactical or logistic aircraft temporarily equipped and staffed for en route care. MEDEVAC has generally implied the use of rotarywing aircraft with medical attendants (MA).

Air Force Medevac
The Air Force doesn’t traditionally fill a medevac role but in 2006 the Army asked the Air Force to help with its medevac mission, it was considered an in-lieu-of deployment. The first medics that took on this responsibility were then TSgt Mark D. and TSgt Shawn B.. In order to fill the role, they needed to qualify on the helicopter and attend survival school.

Because the Air Force normally doesn’t carry out the medevac mission, it doesn’t have a helicopter designed for that purpose. This meant the flight medics had to make do with what they had, the HH-60 Pave Hawk, a helicopter the Air Force uses for combat search and rescue missions. It, too, is a distant relative of the Army’s Black Hawk.

I hope that explains it a little better and offers more clarity. Medevacs are not armed with weapons as they are armed with life-saving equipment. A CASEVAC is any type of transport available. It could be another helicopter, a HUMVEE, or hell even a civilian vehicle if that is all that is available. It is a means to transport a wounded warrior. In war zones just about every vehicle has a weapon on it. Some don’t, especially those that have a unique or specified purpose. For example, the Buffalo MRAP, The Husky or MEDEVAC birds. They are specialized, they have a unique application and it is more important that they carry what they need to do their job versus trying to fill a mission they are not destined for.

So when SPC Chazray Clark’s widow, Christine asks the question I would hope that someone could get to her and explain the answer. Someone besides Yon who is doing nothing but taking advantage of her and her grief.

“I just don’t understand why — can’t they take the red crosses off,” she said, “and put machine guns on them? Why do they have to wait for somebody to escort them?”

If a MEDEVAC is carrying weapons and ammunition, then how are they supposed to carry all the life-saving medical equipment they are required to carry? Remember they are designated to provide en-route care and not just evacuate the wounded from the battlefield.

Former Afghanistan Commander and RESPECTED military leader LTG John Campbell makes it pretty clear.

 …Lt. Gen. John Campbell says it would not save more lives.

“I don’t think arming a medevac bird or taking a cross off a medevac bird will change whether or not we can get in and save our soldiers,” he said.

Machine guns would add weight and reduce the number of patients a medevac could carry and would not bring nearly as much firepower as an Apache escort. Today in Afghanistan, a wounded soldier stands a 92 percent chance of surviving — the highest rate of any war. Campbell, a former commander in Afghanistan and now chief of army operations, says that is the best argument for unarmed medevacs.

Because they don’t have weapons on board, the Army requires that armed helicopters go with the unarmed MEDEVACS anywhere they go. Regardless of what the non-combat veteran Mike Yon says those red crosses don’t invite more gunfire onto the helicopter due in large part because there is always an armed Apache, Blackhawk or even a Chinook helicopter with them.

What amazes me is that a guy who flip-flops on whether or not he is a journalist or blogger or whatever the flavor of the day is, a guy who killed a innocent person in a bar-fight, a guy who has been thrown out of embed after embed with the military can somehow have the ear of Fox News and of many elected Congressman and Senators. Why do they even give him the time of day much less help spread the lies and fallacies that he has made up in his little fat head.

I have been on the business end of more MEDEVACS then I care to remember. I have called in many and then had to wait and provide care and comfort to the wounded, keep security up  and also re-assure his buddies that the bird was coming. In fact one one day I had two MEDEVACS just about 90 minutes apart. Lucky for Mr. Yon he has never had to experience that, he has only had to watch from the sidelines through his lens and then sharpshoot and ridicule the entire process.

Please do me a favor, if you agree with what I say and have the common sense to see the difference between the different means of getting wounded off the battlefield, leave a comment here or better yet send your Representative or Senator a comment about it.

You can also read more and see a CBS video about this at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57362374/did-military-rules-cost-a-soldier-his-life/

DISCLAIMER- In case it was not clear, I can’t stand Mike Yon, the ground he walks on or the oxygen he steals from the rest of us. I don’t give a crap what he thinks about me, and never will. To put it into perspective, if his body was on fire and his head was ripped off…I would piss down his neck-hole but not on his body because it would put the fire out.

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36 Responses to Why are members of Congress listening to idiots like Mike Yon?

  1. LLNo Gravatar says:

    What it comes down to is if you have 3 limbs blown off here in the US, do you want your buddy driving you to the ER in his car or do you want the trained EMTs in the ambulance to take care of you PROPERLY on the way? Do you think a few added minutes of wait will save your life because you will have the right equipment & training to sustain you in transport or are you ok with waiting a few less minutes for your buddy to get you to the car but his main goal is to get you there, not necessarily be prepared to help you along the way? If you are for the latter, don’t ever bother dialing 911 because any available car will do.

  2. Dane@model helicopterNo Gravatar says:

    I now what you’re saying and I feel the same. Everyday, more people like him cross our TV sets and I wonder why people believe them.

  3. Larry BartlettNo Gravatar says:

    I believe this all began with Yon’s “Grapes” post in which with graphic detail he described Clark’s wounds, suffering and ultimate death along with Clark’s name. That inconsiderate action IMHO proves Yon is no reporter and only attempting to get his paypal button hit by his followers.

    This post of Yon’s upset members of the 4-4 Cav (my son was with them for a time on this deployment), a man named CJ, members of CA’s and many of us civilians. Alot of people felt the “Grapes” post was digusting and very unprofessional. Yon lost his embed with the 4-4 100% over the “Grapes” post and the controversy it created.

    When Yon lost his embed by his own hand he started screaming on his FB page. Current and retired SF personnel substantiated his loss of embed status with them, just like with the 4-4 for his poor judgement and behavior while embedded and Yon attacked them with wild and unsubstantiated charges.

    When Yon finally woke up that Clark’s widow and family could possibly sue him for his war-porn internet posting of Clark’s wounds, death and name he quickly decided to divert attention from himself and focus it on the Army (the Red Air post).

    I would encourage everyone that has not read “Grapes” to read it. I would also like anyone to share with me a story ever published that describes with the detail Yon supplied a soldiers wounds, suffering, death and name. I’m 58 years old, a veteran of Viet Nam and fairly well read. I cannot think of one single case where I have read the two combined. Graphic detail and no name YES. No graphic detail and a name YES! Graphic detail and a name NO NO NO!

    Yon is the cause of his own decline. He is a hero only in his own mind. He has become a joke to most others, especially those who have served in units where he has been embedded.

    He disgraced himself while serving by killing some poor drunk who probably was so drunk he could not protect himself. He has disgraced himself again by diverting the error of the “Grapes” post into an attack on our brave servicemen and women in the medivac field.

    He’s no reporter, he’s a sick egomaniac who needs stopped. I have written my representative to be wary of him and what he says. I’ve also contacted Fox news. How they can listen to someone without combat experience is beyond me. They need to tighten their vetting process of their so-called experts in my opinion.

    May he “rot in hell”!

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      Larry,

      Thank you for explaining the history of all of this and your great comment. I wanted to talk about the Grapes piece but was afraid my posting was too long as it was. You comments can help fill in the gap for some people.

      Bouhammer…

      • Larry Leon in LouisianaNo Gravatar says:

        I have been following this story from the beginning as L. Bartlett relates, a very well done capsule; with curiosity initally, as I had been admiring MY’s lense work and then his website, but had no idea he was such a mental zero. He was in good graces at B5 too for quite a while as far as I know, until those folks got in his path of self righteous bs and he put them in his crosshairs too…MISTAKE.
        When I read the watered down version of his barfight kill and compared it to the record, that cleared things up even more. And trashing Generals on FB? What an idiot. He lost his direction when he started “writing”. He should have shut up and stuck to taking pictures.
        If he ever was a soldier, he lost that focus a long time ago and became a Dan Rather/Walter Cronkite/Chris Mathews mediaite clone only with malice and a 6 year old’s thin skin…
        As I see more and more of his crap on Fox and elsewhere I am very glad to see an equal amount of eyes-open people like y’all and Bouhammer calling his game. Keep it up or I fear that we will be stuck with him a long time as he makes large his tarnished name the media-journos seem to love so much.
        He is a portrait of Mathew 7:15,16,17. I offer that as it will be inappropriate here for me to key in all the street language I know so well that would apply to him. Y’a’ll are lucky. :)
        LL

  4. SherriNo Gravatar says:

    Nicely done, Troy! I wish everyone had benefit of hearing from those who really DO know, rather than just believing something they see or hear from one guy.

    I think Larry said it all, and beautifully so. Thank you sir, for your service, and for raising a son who also serves. Larry, please pass my thanks to him as well.

  5. Andrew LubinNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you, Troy and Larry, for your 2 thoughtful posts.

    It’s also important to note that the only role of a combat journalist is to ‘get the story out’ about the Soldiers and Marines who are on the ground; perhaps one day Michael Yon will become a combat journalist and write accordingly.

  6. LisaNo Gravatar says:

    Oh please…. I pray Yon doesn’t get another embed for the rest of his miserable life. He does nothing but cause drama everywhere he goes. He puts our service members in danger every where he goes. He names high ranking officers and posts a picture of them and even names the base they are on. Mr. Yon puts targets on our service members back. Screams this person assaulted him. If he is such a combat experienced Special Forces Operative he shouldn’t be scared of anyone. Yon leads people to believe he has combat experience and uses his special forces career (yet he fails to show us the proof of his special forces career) to catch their attention but yet he has never served in a combat role in Iraq or Afghan. Yon screams the military, or this person is deceiving the US people. Yon deceives his readers daily. People thank him for his service but he never corrects them he implies he has fought in Iraq & AFghan instead of carrying a camera around taking pictures of rocks, and blurry moon shots of the sky. I think he is the pot calling the kettle black. Yon is important in his own mind no one else’s. Yon is a danger to all service members. I encourage any mother that is using him for a news source to please find another way to get info because he is feeding you false information.

  7. NickNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for another great article. I dig the heck out of your website, brother.

  8. Pete SheppardNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve read Yon’s comment and this blog; thanks for giving your perspective. With respect, I side with Yon.
    Every point you have made has been stated by Yon, and also addressed by *serving* MEDEVAC and Pedro pilots; and every point has been repeatedly refuted. For example, they agree that arming the helos won’t detract significantly from the mission–look at all the gear the HH-60s carry, including heavy machine guns.
    In a critical situation, *time* has a quality of care all its own. It’s analagous to whether or not the casualty is moved to a safer location, or left in place until a surgical team can go to him.

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      Pete, thanks for your comments. Now I must ask where did you read that MEDEVAC pilots and those serving on “PEDRO” teams? Do they support what Yon says? If so, are their names put to it, or is Yon saying they said this? Unlike Yon, I have served with many MEDEVAC crews on the battlefield and I have never heard one say they wish they had guns.

      When you mention “refuted” I am curious as to what you mean. Does refuted mean Yon and his Yonbots don’t agree or that someone with true knowledge has facts from a weight and airframe capability study that shows MEDEVAC UH-60 Model airframes could handle the extra weight and that the this equipment would not hinder the ability to carry patients and for the medics to provide care.

      I am wondering if you read LL’s comment on this posting. I think she puts into perspective about the difference being hauled away fast and hauled away with life-saving equipment.

      • KristeNo Gravatar says:

        Troy,

        Great job.

        As Larry pointed out, this all started in the aftermath of the Grapes piece. It escalated when Mike threw a George Castanza temper-tantrum in his tent after being dressed down by a Captain for his asinine treatment of one of his Soldiers. Mike then hurled false accusations about being assaulted by the good Captain when, in fact, he was the one who shoved his way out of the tent. At the time, Mike was also ranting paranoid delusions about a Soldier in-theatre who had a cult that wanted him dead; you can’t make this stuff up. If you don’t observe Mike’s behavior on his Facebook page, you aren’t getting the whole story. Mike’s disembed had nothing to do with the Army trying to silence him on the “Red Air” issue. In my opinion, that’s a manifestation of his paranoia and grandiosity; not only has he convinced his bots he’s being persecuted, I’m pretty sure he’s created his own reality and believes it himself. The man needs help.

        As someone who’s watched this evolve from nothing more than petty payback for his disembed, I wish I could say I’m dumbfounded that Fox and Congress are listening to Mike Yon, but I’m not. It’s a great story and a great cause; who cares if it’s true? The scandal of soldiers dying due to the Army’s negligence makes for great ratings. Outraged legislators can divert attention from their own real and substantial failures to support our military by pointing fingers at the Army and banging their fists on the table about what our Troops deserve. Forget paychecks and benefits, we need to get rid of those Red Crosses by God!

        Perhaps the Mil-Support community could throw its weight behind contacting the 17 members of Congress who are now “on-board” with Mike and give them a list of more important ways they can support our AD and Vets?

        • KristeNo Gravatar says:

          Whoops. Sorry. Put this in the wrong reply thread. Moderator, feel free to edit.

          • AkashNo Gravatar says:

            Sorry for the OT, but I am an Indian and a Hindu, and I found it pretty cool and interesting that you have an Om as an avatar.:-)
            Did you choose it for any specific reason? Just asking as I was pretty surprised – the world is such a small place.
            This is OM btw – apologies if you already knew it.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Om

    • GaggedNo Gravatar says:

      Pete, let me ask you this. Will removing the crosses from the choppers prevent the Taliban from firing at them? No. Will arming the choppers help them on the ground? No. They can’t shoot while loading passengers anyway. Will adding gunners to the choppers take up space for lifesaving equipment? Yes, but how much is in dispute.

      I would also add that there are pilots that DISAGREE with Yon’s assertion. The FACT is that there are people with real skin in the game on both sides of this argument but neither of which see the big picture.

      Arming the birds and removing the crosses will not solve the “problem,” assuming this is a real problem, which I contend it is not.

      So, the question then becomes, how can we get there faster? Yon’s tunnel vision provides ONE solution – the wrong solution. Another option that I highly support would be to forward deploy escort gunships wherever MEDEVAC birds are located. But, that creates another problem, mainly that now you’re taking gunships away from THEIR main purpose.

      This isn’t as cut and dry as Yon wants you to believe because Yon is not a subject matter expert on anything except killing innocent people in bar fights and getting disembedded. He’s a subject matter expert on whining, moaning, and groaning, but not MEDEVAC, PEDRO, CASEVAC, or any other air platform. He’s never served a day in combat as a Soldier and has never been deployed.

      I can get a great look at a t-bone steak by sticking my head up a bull’s ass too!

      • DefendUSANo Gravatar says:

        Gagged…Hoo-AH!
        THAT was a superb assessment, right there. Great objectivity, not to mention sense. Yon had none of that and as someone else said…His self-perceived verbosity makes him want to save his own ass and not the other way around.

  9. Taco BellNo Gravatar says:

    Troy, well said and put together to reflect the realities of war. Mike is slipping and this is his claim to fame to keep money in his tip jar. I’m surprised he hasn’t come on here and left you a love note.
    SF
    Taco

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      I am too Taco, but I think that he knows this is not an area he is loved and not a place where he can delete comments he doesn’t like, as he does on his FB page.

  10. bratNo Gravatar says:

    The only subject area Yon is expert in is being an arsehole AND making money off the backs of our Troops and the families of our Fallen, with misinformation. (If you ask me nicely, I could tell you what I REALLY think of him..lol)

    In this specific instance (MedEvac) it is unfortunate that Yon is the only one able to speak publicly (for now, at least) of those who were actually there.

    Our Troops (yes, including our Combat MEDICS) are the absolute professionals, and for him to assert that their actions and procedures cost a wounded warrior his life is more than disgusting. Disgusting is also the way he is sharing war porn of this Fallen Hero’s last minutes of life, to deflect from his despicable pleas to “Hit the PayPal”…because it is all about him, as he “supports the troops”.*SPIT* (Had to put that in..;)

    Yon is a disagrace and as has been said above, should never EVER be allowed anywhere near ANY of our Troops ever again….he is a danger to our Troops and he is a hazard to the well-being of the Military Families, some of whom – inexplicably – still believe HE is the only source of truth about their loved ones in the sandbox.

    Lots more I could say, but you, Troy, and other commenters here and elsewhere have it covered.

    Soldier ON!

  11. Wayne V. HallNo Gravatar says:

    I’m glad you took on this topic, and Michael Yon. As a man with an extensive journalism background and Army veteran of more than 15 years, I am completely appalled by Michael Yon’s crusade.

    Journalists must remain objective in telling the story, it is the only way they can maintain their credibility. However, it seems a growing trend these days that some are becoming “Journalists of Fortune,” willing to sell their sole to gain fame at the cost of bending the truth to suit their personal quest for glory.

    This man must have served in the Army during some period of time when values were not considered important. He certainly does not appear to have any sense of “Selfless Service,” a value that truly is shared by real journalists — people who do what they do in the name of telling the “TRUE” story, good or bad, and not really caring if it makes them famous or not!

    Keep up the good work, and I hope you will follow me on Twitter @Wayne_Hall.

  12. Jim DavidsonNo Gravatar says:

    Well done Troy!! This needed to be told. Yon has lost his mind and congress needs to know the facts.

  13. Just JohnNo Gravatar says:

    Yon has demonstrated, on numerous occasions, that he is a piss poor example of a journalist. I have never been impressed with his writing, and only gave him a bit of scrutiny, initially, because he’s not an entirely untalented photographer.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t take his questionable word over that of MEDEVAC pilots that know the real deal.

    Great post; keep up the good work.

  14. LibbyNo Gravatar says:

    MEDEVAC units in Afghanistan have been saying some of the same things that Yon is saying since 2002. Here are some excerpts from a book called A History of U.S. Army Aeromedical Evacuation from Conception to Hurricane Katrina (online at the Borden Institute, an agency of the US Army Medical Department Center & School) … “In early 2002, the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division was deployed to Kandahar to replace the Marine task force there. Its support package included one of the air assault battalions and the attached 50th Med Co (AA) Forward Support MEDEVAC Team (FSMT) consisting of 18 soldiers and three UH-60s, under the command of Capt. James Stanley … When he arrived back at Fort Campbell, Stanley of the 50th wrote a detailed after-action report. In it he cited several issues: 1. MEDEVAC launches were delayed because of launch approval issues. At one point, approval was maintained by a Major General who was occasionally hard to contact. Launch authority should rest with the aviation brigade or battalion commander. 2. Army MEDEVAC needed to move away from its unarmed approach when functioning in combat operations. On many occasions U.S. Air Force HH-60s were used for recoveries because of the enemy threat.”

    More … “two FSMTs from the 1042d Med Co (AA), Oregon ARNG, replaced the teams from the 50th and 57th. Under the command of Maj. Mathew Brady, the 1042d was ordered into federal service and activated as Operation ANACONDA concluded … The unit deployed the two FSMTs with six aircraft, crews, and support personnel in late July 2002 to Afghanistan … Brady deployed with the Afghanistan contingent and located his headquarters at Bagram where he developed an excellent working relationship with the 82d Aviation Brigade that supported his unit. The brigade commander retained launch authority over all sorties, but most often relented when Brady asked for a waiver. Although Brady appreciated the additional logistical, intelligence, and gunship support provided by the linkup with the brigade, he still wanted the unique status of a medical unit versus an aviation unit. On several occasions, his crews had to delay launching on a recovery because it took several more minutes for the AH-64s to prepare for takeoff.”

    (Chapter 9: Again, Into Battle, 2001-2003, http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/other_pub/dustoff/Dustoffch9.pdf)

    • GaggedNo Gravatar says:

      Oooh, someone said something in a book. Drop everything. Act now. We should have known that such a “brilliant” idea wasn’t Yon’s to come up with…

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      Libby, great reference. However the point is that these was in 2002 and 2003. When there were hardly ANY air assets in Afghanistan, when Afghanistan was pretty much forgotten about already and all the attention was being put towards Iraq. The reason these commanders retained launch authority was because of the lack of US forces there and the inability to remotely guarantee safe air corridors. Until 2009, Afghanistan had been SEVERELY under-resourced, and even since they we still do not have all what we need to in order to secure such a large country. Yon’s argument is not about 2002-2003. It is about 2011. The complaints and observations from FSMTs 7-8 years earlier are not applicable. That is like comparing the security of Iraq in 2006 to the days in 2003 right after Saddam’s regime fell. Those times in 2003 were safer and more stable (for US forces) then they were 3 years later. You can’t compare those apples and oranges.

      As my friend CJ has stated on this comment thread. The solution to shrinking the “Golden Hour” (which has already been shrunk a lot then ever before), is not arming the birds, but adding even more forces, and more helicopters to the fight and deploying more of them forward with their own dedicated security escorts. But then what is next, having every patrol go out with their own medevac and apache flying overhead so they can make it a “golden 5 min”?

  15. LibbyNo Gravatar says:

    If the argument is that Dustoffs in 2012 still have to wait for Apache escort, as they did in 2002, but that they wouldn’t have to wait if they were armed, it appears some of the points raised in the book are applicable today. From what I can glean out of this whole situation, the Army is squealing like a stuck pig because there’s fear that taking the red crosses off the MEDEVACs would somehow make them into generic transport to be tasked at any commander’s whim. And yet the Brits use armed and unmarked MEDEVACs and they don’t seem to have a problem reserving them for medical transport — and they’ve got even fewer air assets than we do. It just seems common sense to take off the markings and arm the Dustoffs. With only one medic onboard they can’t load that many serious casualties anyway, and all the docs agree that getting wounded soldiers to treatment as quickly as possible gives the best chance of survival. I sense a lot of bureaucratic inertia on the Army’s part, and I don’t think it matters whether Yon or somebody else was the catalyst. The Pentagon ought to be able to give a straight answer to Congress when asked about the issue. And at least from what I’ve seen (and heard from my own senator), there have been a lot of CYA-type responses but nothing that really gets to the heart of the matter. JMHO, of course.

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      Libby, I respect your opinion but still see it as flawed. MEDEVACS are allowed to have weapons and protect themselves. They choose not to so they can focus on their assigned mission and allow the birds with big guns on them provide the protection. In Afghanistan this is no different than ANY OTHER AIR MISSION. No helicopter rolls solo in Afghanistan. Not Chinooks, ‘Hawks, Kiowas, or Apaches. They all go in pairs so that for one there is a buddy system and in case one is engaged doing anything, the other can provide overwatch. So even if there is a mission that only requires one Chinook to haul troops, there is always a second bird assigned. That could be any time of bird with guns. Guess what happens if that second bird can’t fly? The mission does not go if there is not a replacement.

      It does not matter if MEDEVACS could be armed with 2.75″s and miniguns, they would not go solo without a second aircraft, PERIOD. That is what I am surprised people don’t see. Even if Apaches had a the freakish ability to put a litter on the stub wings that bird would not go without a second one.

      So it does not matter if a fully armed MH-60 can be to a CASEVAC pickup point in 5 min, that bird is not going to go without an escort. This whole argument is not about red crosses and mounted weapons, it is about trying to get the wounded out faster than 60 min. Yon is using SPC Clark’s death and his war-porn to promote his “look at me” and “donate to me because I am fighting the big bad US Army” agenda. He only started this after he was disembedded from forces in Afghanistan after he wrote about the details and videoed them of SPC Clark’s death. He knowingly broke the golden rule of embedding and he knew it. He had to take a shot back at the Army and wants to gloat about it, like he did after a Canadian General was relieved and McChrystal was relieved (neither of which happened because of Yon, yet he practically takes credit for it). He knew that taking advantage of SPC Clark’s family and using America’s heartstrings would help him promote that agenda. Trust me, Afghan soldiers have to wait a lot longer for US MEDEVACS and usually do die, but he would never write about that because most of America couldn’t give crap about an Afghan soldier who is side by side with ours dying.

      When FOB Keating was overran there were guys who may have lived had MEDEVACS gotten in there, but that was not an option as even armed birds were being shot up. The MEDEVAC could have had every weapon we own on it, it was not going to get there because of how hot the situation was on the ground. Some guys died, that sucks, but that is war and it is not pretty.

      SPC Clark MAY have lived had the MEDEVAC gotten there in 45 minutes instead of 59, but we will never know. We can “What IF” that until the end of time, but that doesn’t add up to squat.

    • GaggedNo Gravatar says:

      Libby, if you’re going to engage in the conversation, at least get the facts straight. The Brits use OUR MEDEVACS here much of the time. And guess what else? WE ARE NOT GREAT BRITAIN! This is part of the flawed argument that some quasi-journalist continues to use and it makes no positive contribution to the argument.

      This is the the Army’s CYA tactics. This is reality. The Army has different assets that are used on airframes for different purposes. The MEDEVAC airframe provides a level of care and support that no other airframe can, regardless of what country they are from. As Troy said above, removing the crosses and arming the birds does not fix the situation. A fully armed death star that lands on the battlefield to extract patients still cannot fire on the ground while sitting there. So now you’ve a killing machine able to transport one or two patients that fire a round just sitting there on the ground.

      Troy is a combat veteran and has been on the receiving end of these. I’m a combat veteran and have been on the receiving end of these. Yon is a combat photographer that makes money from controversy and telling stories. He sees what he thinks will fill his coffers so he go overseas and chase cub tracks or take pictures of feet-eating Thai fish.

  16. DefendUSANo Gravatar says:

    Bouhammer…I saw this and linked to it in the comments. They sure leave alot of shit out and that makes my military mind go berserk!

    http://news.yahoo.com/soldiers-death-sparks-debate-over-arming-medevacs-184034109.html

  17. SoapyNo Gravatar says:

    This issue is not as cut and dry as either side would like everyone to think it is. As the father of a Soldier that has deployed and will likely deploy again I am very interested in this issue and I’ve looked at the information provided by many different sources and have yet to form a solid opinion, but I can tell you this. This blog and some others lose a lot of credibility by spending so much time spewing their hatred of Yon. I agree that he does not handle himself well publicly in his disputes, but that does not mean that the information he provides is without value.

    If you want to influence the opinions of people who are concerned about this issue please emphasize the valuable information you have to offer and leave the character assassination out of the conversation.

    • BouhammerNo Gravatar says:

      Well Soapy, I am not sure how your story is really applicable, but as a son of a Vietnam Vet, a person who has deployed to war a couple of times myself, as a father of a combat proven medic and someone with several very close friends that are currently deployed I can tell you that you are no more interested in this than myself. I also very rarely talk about the idiot named Yon on this blog. I used to support his good work, when he did good work and routinely republished his work or pointed people to it. There were most posts (I have since removed them) praising him then every talking negative about him. So I have never “spewed” anything about him a lot.

      I have mostly ignored him because like hemorrhoids I want him to just go away and the last thing I want to do is give him more publicity. I don’t think this post that I wrote which mentions him, which is the first time I have mentioned him in a very long time, does anything to my credibility. If anything it has increased it with the large number of hits I have received for this post. Not that I need credibility as I have deployed as a soldier multiple times and have been the one to call in and care for soldiers and have personally put them on medevacs. All of which is all more than Yon himself has ever done.

      The only reason I jumped into the fray on this one and even wrote about it was because Yon was the only one talking about it. The Army had issues statements and then said no more. Milblogs of various popularity has also spoke up in disagreement with Yon. I felt that if all the sheep of an American public heard was his side they would simply believe he was correct in his accusations and crazy, un-substantiated theories.

      Yon attacks people’s characters all the time, especially soldiers serving RIGHT NOW on the front lines in the war on terror. He attacks all who disagree with him, and since he mostly writes on his Facebook page, he is almost instant in deleting of comments that disagree with him. What I have said about him does not even compare of what he has done against some of our country’s bravest soldiers.

      I have and continue to provide meaningful and valuable information on there. That is evident by the thousands of daily readers I have, the supportive comments, the advertisers and the continued interest I get from mainstream media for interviews. If you don’t feel it is valuable, well that is your opinion and I am sorry it isn’t. Luckily you are never forced to read this blog and have many options in front of you to find and read/hear the truth, which I hope isn’t what crap Yon puts out.

      I thank you for your son’s service as I am sure you are very proud of him as I am of mine. Thank you for the reading you have done of this blog and I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      Bouhammer..

  18. SoapyNo Gravatar says:

    Here is a story that illustrates my point about not dismissing information just because you don’t like the messenger.

    A man is driving along when his car starts shaking violently. He stops the care along the side of the road near the fence of a prison. He gets out and finds that the lug nuts have fallen off of one of his wheels. Luckily the wheel had not yet fallen off. The man was standing there trying to figure out what to do when he heard the a voice say “Take one lug nut off of each of the other wheels and put them on the loose wheel”. You will then have three lug nuts on each wheel and can slowly drive to an auto parts store to get more lug nuts”.

    The man was surprised to see that an inmate had given him the advice. He said “How did YOU come up with that?”. The inmate said “I’m in here because I’ve made several bad decision not because I am stupid”.

    • GaggedNo Gravatar says:

      Soapy, I’m a multiple tour veteran as well and currently serving. So, I think I have a dog in the hunt here. My life could very well be affected. With that said, this is an issue that the aggitator is making for publicity, not reality. If he truly cared, he wouldn’t be planting his foot on a wrong-headed solution. There are other solutions out there that are far more realistic to what he is trying to accomplish – quicker response time – that he won’t even mention. He’s got horse blinders on about the crosses and weapons. These are not solutions that will improve the issue at hand.

      The problem is that there is no easy solution to this problem. But, I can say for a certainty that arming the choppers and/or removing the crosses is NOT going to improve response times. Even armed, these birds will not land in a hot LZ, period! So, now you’ve got an armed chopper that is flying around getting shot at and shooting back while the wounded is still on the ground. And if that chopper does get hit while returning fire, all the capabilities of that chopper are gone – the special capabilities that ONLY ARMY MEDEVACS can provide. Pedros don’t provide the same capabilities. CASEVAC choppers don’t provide the same capabilities.

  19. DefendUSANo Gravatar says:

    And Bouhammer, I wish even more people were talking about this…you are correct, sir. No credibility lost at all. That article I saw, and the comments shows just how ignorant the public really is and to have to hang on one single person’s words is pretty telling. Even the deceased soldier’s wife doesn’t really get it. No disrespect intended, there. It’s a mess and going to get worse because Yon is hanging on by a thread, and the medi-evac thing is his lifeline.

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