“I felt really honored to receive this award,” said Capt. Zach Mauss, platoon leader, Forward Support Medical Platoon 3, C/3-25th Avn., 25th CAB. “Our partnership here with the Australians is extremely strong. They are incredibly professional soldiers and take great pride in the work they do in Uruzgan Province. Taking care of their fellow soldiers and their willingness to take the fight to the enemy are some similarities they share with U.S. Soldiers.”
Before U.S. Soldiers were presented with a framed certificate and two medals, Power spoke to roughly 200 of them in attendance.
On the afternoon of Aug. 23, explained Power, the crew on duty received a “CAT A” 9-line request. Category Alpha refers to urgent medical care needed to evacuate immediately. The victim was an Australian soldier who received severe wounds to both legs caused by an improvised explosive device.
The crew flew out to the location as quickly as they could, said Power. Upon arrival, the medevac pilots performed a two-wheeled landing due to terrain limitations where the wounded soldier was located.
In less than a minute, the Australian soldier was loaded onto the helicopter and headed to the nearest medical facility.
The medics in the aircraft worked feverishly to restore the vital signs of the injured soldier, Power said. Flying the distance to the patient and then to the nearest medical facility, the medevac crew managed to complete its mission within in 52 minutes. That first hour is called the “golden hour,” the time from when a call comes in to evacuate a patient until his arrival at the nearest medical facility.
“The most rewarding part of the night was following the ceremony, when members of the unit that hit the IED came forward to individually thank us for the work we did in saving their comrade,” said Mauss. “Although their comrade was severely injured, they were relieved that he is now home with his family in Australia, making a strong recovery.”