NEWS | Oct. 10, 2017

Supporting soldiers at remote sites with medical evacuation and care

By Capt. Stephen James 29th Combat Aviation Brigade

The 29th Combat Aviation Brigade supports the fight against ISIS in the Middle East by providing aviation assets to accomplish a wide array of missions, none of which are more critical than its aeromedical evacuation capability.

The 29th CAB’s Company G, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment supplies lifesaving care to coalition forces in the form of Forward Support Medical Platoons that come equipped with HH-60M aeromedical evacuation helicopters and often operate in remote locations, including Iraq and Syria.

“We are a force multiplier,” said Staff Sgt. Dan Cleveland, a FSMP flight medic.

Having the MEDEVAC capability “increases the ground forces confidence, they know that when they are having a bad day we will come and get them quickly,” said Capt. Daniel Russell, FSMP leader from Company G, 1-189th Aviation. Russell emphasized that Company G’s aerial evacuation capability and medical care are available to all members of the coalition against ISIS.

In order to provide the best medical care they can, the MEDEVAC Soldiers constantly train to develop their individual and collective skills, including training with their coalition partners. Training includes exercises in which Soldiers — including the flight medics, crew chiefs and pilots — respond to 9-line MEDEVAC calls and provide treatment to simulated casualties, said Russell.

As members of the Army National Guard, many of the flight medics and care providers have jobs as civilian lifesavers, which provide additional real-world experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

“We have always had a high-level of paramedics in our unit,” said Russell. “Our leadership has specifically recruited civilian paramedics.”

Adding to the experience of the flight medics are the enroute critical care nurses who have advanced skills and training, including post-surgery critical care, which increases the survivability of their patients.

“When we arrive, survivability has significantly improved because of our capabilities,” said Russell.

The 29th CAB is an Army National Guard brigade that provides aviation assets, precision offensive strike capability, operational and logistical support to Operation Inherent Resolve.