Minutes Matter
  • Death by Policy – When Minutes Matter

    This project started in October, 2011 with the heart-wrenching report by journalist Michael Yon of the death of US Army Specialist Chazray Clark in a farmer's field in Southern Afghanistan. Despite being wounded just a mile and a half from a MEDEVAC helicopter and a 10 minute flight to one of the world's finest trauma treatment facilities located at Kandahar Air Field, Chazray Clark waited 55 minutes for the arrival of his MEDEVAC helicopter. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, he died of what have been survivable wounds for many other American soldiers in Afghanistan.

    Readers of that report were propelled into action and banded together to find out how and why this tragedy happened. As our research proceeded, what started as a campaign to remove the Red Cross symbols and arm the MEDEVAC helicopters has broadened to address the other policies and procedures that conspired to result in Chazray's death last fall.

    [to read more click on the SPC Chazray Clark menu item]

RIP SPC Clark


It was a year ago today that Army SPC Chazray Clark was wounded by an IED while on patrol. Despite a MEDEVAC helicopter based only 1.5 miles away, SPC Clark laid in a field for an hour waiting for people 25 miles away to dispatch helicopters to rescue him. Unfortunately, SPC Clark died shortly after … Continue reading

Remembering the fallen heroes


Remembering the fallen heroes on Memorial Day 2012 in Afghanistan. http://fastsurgeon.blogspot.com/2012/05/picture-of-day28-may-2012-remembrance.html The LTC with the message on her back honoring SFC Brian Woods has been a combat surgeon for 20 years. She is currently part of a FST (Forward Surgical Team) in Afghanistan. One can only imagine how many wounded soldiers and civilians she has … Continue reading

Revamped Flight Medic Training


Good news. Enhanced Flight Medic Training Begins After over a decade of urgent calls for upgraded training of Army flight medics, it has begun. This article provides some details of what is involved. As noted, Army statistics have long shown that wounded troops rescued by National Guard MEDEVAC crews have a 66% higher chance of … Continue reading

Word Games


Just a reminder of the official US Army position on the need to make changes to MEDEVAC policies and procedures. This is the final three paragraphs of the statement issued by the Army Chief of Public Affairs on January 20, 2012 following the CBS Evening News segment on the death of SPC Chazray Clark: “Further, … Continue reading

Norwegian MEDEVAC Copter – No Red Crosses


The Norwegian Aeromedical Detachment force provide MEDEVAC support under NATO’s management of MEDEVAC and medical services in Afghanistan. This photo from a 3 minute video filmed in April 2012 about Norwegian MEDEVAC missions shows that if the Norwegian helicopter has external markings all it is simply “ISAF” on its side doors. Some fly without even … Continue reading

New – MEDEVACmatters is now on Facebook


The new MEDEVACmatters Facebook page was launched today. Please stop by and “Like” the page to stay in the loop as new posts are published on this site.

Is the Red Cross a Neutral Symbol to Afghans?


Journalist Michael Yon has written about the cultural importance of our MEDEVAC helicopters showing Red Cross symbols on them in a Muslim society. Here is a photo of a poster displaying banned symbols From Yon’s article: An Afghan friend translates: *Destroying the cross is an Islamic obligation* 1. Christians want to publish and spread their … Continue reading

What Do You Think Senator Harkin Meant? (A Poll)


After reviewing Senator Harkin’s form letter to a constituent concerned about the safety of MEDVAC flights and the delays caused by requiring them to fly unarmed, I thought it would be interesting to see if I just completely misunderstood the Senator’s closing thoughts. Let me know what you think. Background In late October a concerned … Continue reading

Senator Harkin’s Disinformation Letter


A constituent of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin finally received a reply five months after her initial letter and fax to Senator Harkin about MEDEVAC operations in Afghanistan. Despite the date on the Senator’s letter, she just received it today. The letter is another example of how the Army’s spin doctors have misled members of Congress … Continue reading

Aerial Camouflage – Why It’s Not Easy Being Green…with White Patches and Red Crosses


The recent discussions about removing the Red Crosses on white backgrounds from the Army’s MEDEVAC helicopters created quite an uproar from Army leadership. They based their arguments against doing so mostly on a misunderstanding the terms of the Geneva Convention. They also disregarded an opinion issued in October 2008 by the Army’s Judge Advocate General … Continue reading

How the Army is slow to meet MEDEVAC Challenges in the 21st Century


This timeline shows important milestones in Army MEDEVAC operations in the 21st Century. On the left side of the timeline are Army/Army Medical Department actions, and on the right side are important reports and challenges faced by Army MEDEVAC operations. The history of the MEDEVAC units in the US Army is a long and proud … Continue reading

The real reason why Army MEDEVAC helicopters fly unarmed


Since the Vietnam War era, there has been a tension between the MEDEVAC force and the Army’s combat arms force. At the time MEDEVAC operated with functional autonomy on the battlefield as a Army Corps level unit. During that war when a request for MEDEVAC was received a helicopter was dispatched from the MEDEVAC fleet … Continue reading

Army Medical Department (AMEDD) MEDEVAC Innovations 1991-2011


2009 – MEDEVAC Force Expansion “All 37 MEDEVAC companies grew from 12 to 15 aircraft and 85 to 109 personnel.  In addition, 9 MEDEVAC companies were added to the Reserve Component.  Six new LUH [Light Utility Helicopter] MEDEVAC Companies with 8 aircraft each were added to the Reserve Component in support of Homeland Security and … Continue reading

Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Innovations 1991-2011


Army Medicine Innovations Since Desert Storm About AMEDD After Operation Desert Storm, the Army Medical Department took a number of initiatives to improve soldier health, medical care during deployments and on the battlefield, and the training and tools that medical personnel have to deliver care.  These efforts have built a more efficient, better integrated system … Continue reading

NATO Newsletter: NATO Medical Lessons Learned Newsletter, March 2011


NATO Medical Lessons Learned Newsletter “Analysis of medical lessons is an essential means to improve operational effectiveness. By identifying where medical support can be enhanced and by providing recommendations t0 NATO bodies and nations, the lessons learned (LL) process enables NATO t0 make best use of its collective knowledge and experience. However, the LL process … Continue reading

NATO Training: PECC Training Course


“The NATO Military Medicine Center of Excellence Training Branch started the development of the Patient Evacuation Coordination Cell (PECC) Course with a Course Design Meeting on 30 January – 03 February 2012. The design meeting was based on a previous discussion with the German Armed Forces Medical Academy Training Centre (Feldkirchen, DEU) personnel, where the … Continue reading

NATO Report: ALLIED JOINT DOCTRINE FOR MEDICAL EVACUATION


ALLIED JOINT DOCTRINE FOR MEDICAL EVACUATION Abstract This article concentrates on the policy that is available within NATO to support and coordinate the medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) process, for both NATO forces and for those agencies and bodies that choose to interact and operate alongside NATO personnel. NATO doctrine is coordinated and crafted by Allied Command … Continue reading

NATO report: NATO – Medical Evacuation in Afghanistan MP-HFM-157-05


This Official NATO report is an assessment of MEDEVAC efforts in Afghanistan. Abstract Joint Forces Command in Brunssum (JFCBS) is the operational level headquarters (HQ) for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. From the view of the current Medical Advisor of this HQ this article lights aspects of Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) in … Continue reading

US Army Report: 2011 After action report blasts MEDEVAC shortcomings


United States Central Command Joint Theater Trauma System HQ, BAF, APO, AE 09354 MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD 7 February 2011 SUBJECT: After action report for MEDCOM Tasker 1039.01C. (90 Day TSC deployment of an Emergency Physician to serve as the medical director for Enroute Critical Care Nurses (ECCN) and MEDEVAC units performing patient evacuation in the … Continue reading

Point-Counterpoint: 92% Casualty Survival Rate in Afghanistan


The Department of Defense defines Killed In Action (KIA) as someone who “is killed outright or who dies as a result of wounds or other injuries before reaching a medical treatment facility.” Someone who is wounded in battle and survives his wounds and is later returned to duty or transported to a higher level Medical … Continue reading

Point-Counterpoint: Geneva Convention Applicability to the U.S. in Afghanistan


A familiar argument against changing the Army’s MEDEVAC policies is that the United States is a signatory state on the Geneva Convention and we are prohibited from providing medical evacuation to wounded troops in unmarked, armed helicopters. The argument often is buttressed by the admonition that even if our adversaries (the Taliban and al Qaeda) … Continue reading

Daily Mail Online (UK): ‘He’d still be here': Mother’s agony


By Hannah Roberts “An inconsolable mother has told of her heartbreak after an American soldier died before a helicopter could get him to hospital in Afghanistan. It took a medical evacuation team 59 minutes to get U.S. Army Specialist Chazray Clark to a hospital, after receiving a call that a roadside bombing had severed three … Continue reading

Yon: 66 minutes is not 59 minutes


“The Army campaign around the MEDEVAC continues to unravel.  They’ve tried just about everything short of assassination and witchcraft to freeze the growing stampede.  In the beginning, they claimed that my accounts of the failed MEDEVAC were completely wrong.  And then I produced the inconvenient high definition video and audio. Undeterred, the Army has continued … Continue reading

Kevin Lehmann: Incomprehensibly Stupid Army Regulation Killing Americans in Afghanistan


“ [snip] There is no requirement for a signatory nation to follow the Convention when opposing forces do not respect it. To do so is suicide, yet to placate the denizens of PC, the Army goes right ahead. Perhaps the bureaucrats and politicians who design these policies should first be required to personally oversee their … Continue reading

Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF)


Levels of Medical Care Medical care is provided in a progressive manner, ranging from immediate first aid at the point of wounding to definitive, specialized care and rehabilitation provided at medical treatment facilities. This may comprise resuscitation and stabilization of vital functions, damage control resuscitation, and definitive treatment and rehabilitation. Linking all these interventions is … Continue reading

NATO MEDEVAC Timelines


NATO laid out the medical evacuation timelines in its Allied Joint Publication 4-10(A) “Allied Joint Medical Doctrine”. Since NATO become involved in Afghanistan it assumed responsibility for managing medical evacuations throughout the entire country. Accordingly, its policies and doctrine drives MEDEVAC operations. Note that the timelines begin AT THE TIME OF WOUNDING, not the time … Continue reading

AP: Should U.S. Arm Medevacs in Afghanistan?


Video Report by Brian Thomas “The death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, whose evacuation took nearly an hour after he was wounded, is fueling debate about whether medevac helicopters should be equipped with firepower, not unarmed.”

Yon: Department of Army Monitoring MEDEVAC Articles


“The following message was issued behind closed doors by the Department of Army (DA).  It pertains to media coverage of the MEDEVAC debacle.  There is no foul in monitoring the articles, but the inside glimpse is interesting. TAMPA TRIBUNE COVERS MEDEVAC STORY WITH LOCAL ANGLE: Howard Altman, Tampa Tribune, is doing a story about one … Continue reading

Yon: Tippity Top General attempts to Deceive Congressman (in writing)


“Happy Valentine’s Day.  It isn’t Valentine’s for those who will get hit with bullets or bombs today.  And it will happen.  So let’s get down to business. The top officer in the US Military is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The Chairman is the principal military advisor to President Obama. Recently, Congressman … Continue reading

American Thinker: No Sex, Many Lies, One Videotape, and a Soldier’s Unnecessary Death


By James Simpson “It is not a movie.  It could be labeled a comedy, a farce, even a Greek tragedy, except that people really are dying.  It is, in fact, an absolutely abhorrent, disgraceful, and unacceptable demonstration of the hidebound, self-serving attitude, omnipresent throughout the federal bureaucracy and among many in our political establishment, that … Continue reading

New Letter from Joint Chiefs of Staff to Congress


Source: Michael Yon

Fox News: Congressman Akin Discusses Medevac Issues in Afghanistan


Video interview by Jenna Lee of Fox News. “Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), Chairman of the Seapower & Projection Forces Subcommittee, discusses concerns he has raised with the Department of Defense regarding delays of Army medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) helicopters in Afghanistan.”

Letter from Chazray Clark’s Mother


A letter from Chazray Clark’s Mother asking for a change to U.S. Army Evacuation Policies: Hello to all American Citizens at home and abroad. My name is Keyko Clark-Davis and I am a military parent whose first-born son, Army SPC Chazray Clark was killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan on 18 Sept 2011. The fact that my … Continue reading

Yon: 17 Members of Congress Want Answers on MEDEVAC


The following letter dated February 3, 2012 from Members of Congress to Secretary of Defense Panetta was reproduced on Michael Yon’s blog:

NY Post: Hurry, wait … and die. Army rules stalling Medevacs


On Sept. 18, Army Spec. Chazray Clark stepped on an IED in Kandahar province, instantly losing an arm and both legs. But the 24-year-old Michigan native was still able to say, “I’m OK,” when his sergeant frantically called out his name. The patrol’s commander immediately radioed for an Army Medevac helicopter, or Dustoff. Clark’s comrade … Continue reading

Soldier of Fortune: BLEEDING OUT FOR POLITICS


By Dalton Fury, SOF Editor on Sunday, 01/29/2012 – 5:26pm [snip] “The point here is that warriors rely on speed to survive, both on the assault and after they’ve been hit. If Army policy in Afghanistan is to wait for an armed escort before the red cross-marked MEDEVAC can fly, then the answer is obvious. … Continue reading

Army Times: Rep. Todd Akin Tells DoD Savings Lives more important than Geneva Convention


01-17-2012 “A key lawmaker says the military could save more lives in Afghanistan if the Army would arm its Medevac helicopters rather than worry about its commitment to the Geneva Convention. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a letter sent Tuesday to the Defense Department that … Continue reading

Stripes.com: Controversial debate brewing: Should Army medevacs be armed?


A military blogger’s report blaming Army policy for the death of a solider has sparked a contentious debate in Congress, Politco reports — an issue that has military and lawmakers asking: should Army medevacs should be armed? Politico reports that blogger Michael Yon blamed the September death of Spc. Chazray Clark on the Army’s policy … Continue reading

Politico.com: Should Army medevacs be armed?


Politico.com By CHARLES HOSKINSON| 1/25/12 10:23 PM EST “A contentious debate over arming Army medevac helicopters sparked by the death of a soldier whose wounding in Afghanistan was videotaped by an embedded blogger is spilling into the halls of Congress.” [snip] “This is an issue that has been subjected to considerable review by senior, experienced, … Continue reading

Examiner.com: Is Army medevac policy killing our wounded troops?


By Lawrence Wood “The United State Army has a policy that is killing our wounded troops in Afghanistan.  U.S. Army medevac UH60s are unarmed and require by policy an armed escort before proceeding to pick up wounded troops.  Given the high demand for AH64 Apache gunships in-theater, this policy results in unnecessary and unreasonable delays.  … Continue reading

Gen. Dempsey talks about trust


What the Profession of Arms requires of us first and foremost is trust. So let me speak to that picture for a second and ask you to emblazon it in your memory.

That squad leader is obviously serving in Afghanistan. He is operating because he trusts that that man or woman to his right flank, that rifleman, is protecting him while he does his job. And similarly, that rifleman who is oriented outward is confident and trusts that the squad leader has his back.

It doesn’t get any more fundamental than trust. And trust is built on confidence in each other. And confidence comes from recognizing the competence, the character, the quality of each of us. You’ve got to have it.

The other thing about that picture is that squad leader—you can see in his eyes if you can see the picture clearly enough, the conflicting emotions that mark a battlefield—courage and fear, confidence and uncertainty. He’s on the radio and he’s calling for something. It could be close air support, could be medevac, could be additional guidance. I don’t know what it is. But whatever it is, you know that he’s going to get it and he knows that he’s going to get it. Because what makes us unique on the face of the earth is that as a military if you need something, we’re going to get it for you. You can trust in that.

So that whole picture is an image of trust and trust is the very foundation of our profession. And if you’re not living up to earning your part of that equation, you’re not living up to being a member of the profession.

U.S. Army Chief PAO: Army statement on MEDEVAC issue


WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2012) — Statement by the Chief Public Affairs Officer – U.S. Army “Recent news items about the use of Army medical evacuation, or MEDEVAC, helicopters in Afghanistan contain troubling information. The reporting suggests that putting red crosses on MEDEVACs, and not arming them somehow, is putting injured Soldiers’ lives at risk. The … Continue reading

CBS Evening News: Did a military rule cost a soldier’s life?


Did a military rule cost a soldier’s life? January 19, 2012 4:51 PM On a September night in Afghanistan, a wounded American soldier died waiting to be evacuated. David Martin reports on a military rule that could have contributed to the soldier’s death. The CBS Evening News video report can be viewed here:  Did a … Continue reading

Military.com: Amid Criticism, Army Defends Medevac Mission


By Philip Ewing “The Army has no evidence its unarmed medical evacuation helicopters marked with the red cross are attacked more often than other helicopters in Afghanistan, the service said Wednesday, and it strongly defended its medevac policies in the face of criticism from a member of Congress. [snip] “The Army has legal and practical … Continue reading

Dennis Miller interview of Michael Yon 2012-01-18


Michael Yon gives a concise review of the problems with the U.S. Army MEDEVAC policies in the wake of the death of SPC Chazray Clark on September 18, 2011. Dennis Miller interview of Michael Yon 2012-01-18

Washington Times: Bureaucracy killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan – Political correctness keeps Army medevac helicopters grounded


By James Simpson “The U.S. military has developed the best system in the world for dealing with combat casualties. As medical technology has advanced, new methods of treatment have been developed, and the speed and efficiency of transport from the battlefield to essential medical services has greatly increased chances for combat wounded to survive. So … Continue reading

Minutes Matter

“So That Others May Live”


This project started with the heart-wrenching death US Army Specialist Chazray Clark in a farmer’s field just a mile and a half from a MEDEVAC helicopter that waited ZZZ minutes for permission to fly the 3 minutes to that field and another 10 minutes to one of the world’s finest trauma treatment facilities located at Kandahar Air Field.

What started as a campaign to remove the Red Cross symbols and arm the MEDEVAC helicopters has broadened to address other policies and procedures that conspired to result in Chazray’s death last September 18.

Mat-Su Valley Frontiersmen: Medevac policy is costing lives


By Larry Wood “The U.S. Army has a policy that is killing our wounded troops. The Army refuses to arm its medevac helicopters and insists on marking them with red crosses on white backgrounds so the enemy has a good aiming point and knows that they are not armed. The other services do not have … Continue reading

Big Peace: A Pilot’s Perspective on Michael Yon’s Medevac Debate


By Bill Tuttle     “Connectivity, lack thereof, being what it is over here in Afghanistan, I was aware of the latest brouhaha Mike Yon has started about medevacs having target markers — ummm — big red crosses painted on them so we’d be in compliance with the Geneva Accords. I figured the controversy, which … Continue reading

U.S. Army Chief of Staff letter to Senator Jon Kyl


Comment David L. Bishop, Brigadier General, US Army responds to an inquiry from Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) about the death of SPC Chazray Clark. The General dutifully repeats the Army’s refrain that 98.5% of all evacuations are made within 60 minutes in Regional Command-South and claims that SPC Clark’s was completed in 59 minutes. One … Continue reading

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