Recommendations


The overall goal is to achieve provide the best possible medical evacuation service to our troops. This will consist of:

  • The fastest possible recovery of the wounded from the battlefield
  • Highly trained flight medics equal to the civilian paramedics serving in the National Guard and Army Reserve MEDEVAC units
  • A permanent committee of general rank officers representing each U.S. military service that reports directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff acting as the multi-service proponent of MEDEVAC services.

Each goal will require changes to the way the U.S. Army provides MEDEVAC services to all U.S. forces in a combat theater. While we cannot provide detailed recommendations, some high level recommendations flow from these goals:

IMMEDIATE GOALS TO IMPROVE MEDEVAC

Goal 1 – Fastest Possible Recovery of the Wounded

Recommendation 1

Remove the Red Cross symbols from the MEDEVAC aircraft.

Outcome 1

  • The aircraft will become eligible to carry crew served weapons for defense against incoming fire.
  • The aircraft will not be readily identifiable as being unarmed
  • Breaches of the Geneva Convention regarding overflights of enemy territory would be eliminated
  • Breaches of the Geneva Convention that could be construed from protected MEDEVAC crews providing real-time assistance to  armed escort aircraft in locating and identifying enemy locations would be eliminated
  • Breaches of the Geneva Convention that require crews of protected aircraft to wear Red Cross armlets will be eliminated

Click here for more details about the Geneva Convention

Recommendation 2

Mount crew served weapons on the MEDEVAC aircraft.

Outcome 2

  • These weapons manned by trained gunners would provide some defense against enemy incoming fire.
  • Consistent with the success of the U.S. Air Force Pedro model, MEDEVAC helicopters would become available to provide chase and escort duty for other MEDEVAC helicopters in various scenarios.

Recommendation 3

Modify the relevant policies and procedures to allow MEDEVAC helicopters to be used for providing armed escort under appropriate circumstances.

Outcome 3

  • Now that the armed MEDEVAC helicopters are available, the Patient Evacuation Control Cell and the combat command can use them in providing escort duty for one another for certain MEDEVAC missions
  • Greater flexibility in selecting appropriate levels of escort aircraft to match specific mission requirements
  • This would be a force multiplier, relieving the combat command of providing armed escort helicopters that could otherwise be employed supporting ground troop operations.
  • MEDEVAC helicopters are faster to launch than gunships with sophisticated weaponry systems which take longer to warm-up and be ready for flight.
  • Reduced maintenance expense and downtime for gunship aircraft

Recommendation 4

Provide dedicated gunship escort aircraft for the use of the MEDEVAC unit.

Outcome 4

For instances where greater firepower is required of an armed escort than can be provided by an armed MEDEVAC, escort aircraft will be available immediately. Assignment of the gunship to a MEDEVAC mission will not require abandonment or curtailment of a mission supporting group troop operations.

These recommendations can implemented in a short period of time, are in conformance with the Geneva Convention, can be accomplished with minimal modifications to equipment and are recommended and endorsed by MEDVAC pilots and crew.

 LONGER TERM GOALS TO IMPROVE MEDEVAC

Goal 2 – Highly Trained Flight Medics

Recommendation 1

Provide enhanced training to elevate existing flight medics to the level of paramedic.

Outcome 1

  • Statistics show that survival rates for wounded troops treated by paramedic certified flight medics are significantly higher.
  • A higher proportion of flight medics in Afghanistan will be paramedic certified

Recommendation 2

Provide enhanced training to elevate new flight medics to the level of paramedic.

Outcome 2

  • Statistics show that survival rates for wounded troops treated by paramedic certified flight medics are significantly higher.
  • A higher proportion of flight medics in Afghanistan will be paramedic certified

Goal 3 – High Level Proponency for MEDEVAC Services

Recommendation 1

Recognizing that the Department of Defense has designated the U.S. Army to be the principal provider of MEDEVAC services for all terrestrially deployed American troops, a proponency group including high ranking representatives from each military branch should be organized. This group should report directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Outcome 1

The MEDEVAC function within the Army is split between the Army Medical Department and the Combat Aviation command. Each has a different mission and set of priorities. Within the Army Medical Department priorities are split among many conflicting areas of demand – of which MEDEVAC is a relatively small unit.

By creating a group focused on MEDEVAC issues, they will receive higher visibility and attention than they currently do through the efforts of the MEDEVAC Proponency Division within the US Army School of Aviation Medicine, Army Medical Department.

Goal 4 – Engaging MEDEVAC Crews in Improving the Operations

Recommendation 1

Contract a civilian company with expertise in conducting extensive, confidential surveys to conduct research with MEDEVAC personnel to identify additional areas needing review and improvement or change.The results of this research should be shared directly with the new proponency board described in Goal 3.

Outcome 1

Many new topics will be found because the current environment within the Army Medical Department does not encourage feedback and suggestions from the field.

 

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