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Another Dustoff Pilot says Delays Costing Lives

The new policy often caused significant delays in our response time, namely in the southern Multi-National Division-Baghdad area at FOB Kalsu, and a few soldiers may have died as a result. I will say that after seven years of flying Medevac missions, including three Iraq tours, I believe without a doubt that soldiers who could have lived died due to these new policies, but that is only my opinion based on experience.

The launch policies were against the recommendations of the senior officers in my unit, and conflicted with MND-B Medevac policy, but the new restriction remained and we were forced to wait to launch.

In retrospect, the sergeant who spoke to me had every right to be upset since we were not always allowed to rapidly evacuate his soldiers when they were wounded. How upset would you be if your friend was dying and Medevac was not allowed to come immediately?

As one of the pilots in C Company, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, I would like to apologize to the soldiers in the southern Baghdad area of operations for the delays in Medevac from November 2006 until May 2007. The Medevac flight crews tried our best to launch as fast as possible, despite the unnecessary delays.

I was even relieved of my duties for launching immediately to save a fellow soldier after being instructed to wait 25 more minutes to launch.

Our mission has never been easy, but it was always simple: Launch as fast as possible, fly as fast as possible and give the wounded the best chance to survive. The new policies of the 1st Cavalry GSAB prevented us from doing just that, and for the first time in seven years of flying Medevac, I am ashamed to be a part of this mission.

It would be easy to focus on the thousands of Medevac missions that my unit performed without delay and ignore the small percentage that went so very wrong. I, however, believe we need to do the opposite and focus on those soldiers we failed due to a flawed policy and an arrogant command.

I hope members of the 1st Cavalry Division take notice to what I have written and help me fix the problems with Medevac before the next combat tour. I tried my best and was reprimanded, relieved and insulted by my battalion commander.
I hope that the next time one of our Medevac crews is sitting down at chow and a soldier walks over to speak, it is to say, “Thank you for a job well done.”

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric V. Brodeur
Fort Carson, Colo.
Newcastle, Calif.

http://www.armytimes.com/community/opinion/army_opinion_letters_080204/

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