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 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
(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.