• Specialist Brian Kelley, helicopter mechanic and MEDEVAC crew chief, Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, performs pre-flight checks of his Forward Support Medical Team's UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9. Company C is the primary MEDEVAC company operating in United States Division-North.
(Photo by: Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts  25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

    TF Hammerhead MEDEVAC Soldiers fly to save lives

    Specialist Brian Kelley, helicopter mechanic and MEDEVAC crew chief, Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, performs pre-flight checks of his Forward Support Medical Team's UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter at...

  • A UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter operated by MEDEVAC Soldiers of Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, takeoff from a Combat Support Hospital located at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9. Company C is the primary MEDEVAC company operating in United States Division-North. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts  25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs) 

    TF Hammerhead MEDEVAC Soldiers fly to save lives

    A UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter operated by MEDEVAC Soldiers of Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, takeoff from a Combat Support Hospital located at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9...

  • A UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter operated by MEDEVAC Soldiers of Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, practice slope landings at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9. Company C is the primary MEDEVAC company operating in United States Division-North. 
(Photo by: Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts  25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

    TF Hammerhead MEDEVAC Soldiers fly to save lives

    A UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter operated by MEDEVAC Soldiers of Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, practice slope landings at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9. Company C is the...

  • A UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter operated by MEDEVAC Soldiers of Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, takeoff from a Combat Support Hospital located at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9. Company C is the primary MEDEVAC company operating in United States Division-North.
(Photo by: Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts  25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

    TF Hammerhead MEDEVAC Soldiers fly to save lives

    A UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter operated by MEDEVAC Soldiers of Company C, 3-25th General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, takeoff from a Combat Support Hospital located at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 9...

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq Aca,!" Whether a Soldier survives a traumatic combat injury may depend on whether medical treatment is administered within the first hour from the time of the injury.

Military medical professionals refer to this core principle of emergency intervention as the Aca,!A"golden hour.Aca,!A?

In United States Division-North, medical evacuation Soldiers of Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Hammerhead, deploy Forward Support Medical Teams (FSMTs) to ensure that injured Soldiers receive treatment and evacuation to a higher level of medical care within that critical time period.

According to Lt. Col. Gregory Baker, commander, 3-25th GSAB, Co. C is the primary MEDEVAC company in USD-North. Its life-saving personnel and assets are distributed among four forward locations including Contingency Operating Base Speicher, just outside of Tikrit, and Forward Operating Bases Warrior in Kirkuk, Sykes in Tall Afar, and Diamond Back near Mosul.

An FSMT operates from each location, primarily supporting local ground commanders who are partnered with a variety of Iraqi Security Forces.

Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve arranged MEDEVAC coverage so that no Soldier will be out of range of a medical facility by more than an hour,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Baker. Aca,!A"That philosophy reflects our mandate to launch an aircraft within 15 minutes of receiving a [MEDEVAC call] and fly to an injured Soldier in order to deliver that person to a medical treatment facility in less than 60 minutes.Aca,!A?

For Lt. Col. Baker, his unitAca,!a,,cs operational capability is simply part of the 3-25th GSABAca,!a,,cs contract with the Soldiers working throughout USD-North.

Aca,!A"A Soldier who is asked to risk his life on a [route-clearance] mission or key leader engagement has in the back of his mind [a certain comfort and reasonable expectation] that if something happens MEDEVAC will be there to provide care and to transport that Soldier as quickly as possible.Aca,!A?

The COB Speicher FSMTAca,!a,,cs unique mission requires the teams to rotate through 24-hour shifts, much like a civilian fire station. At any time, the lead FSMT can be awakened and expected to fly a mission. They sleep and eat near their aircraft. Their equipment and weapons are staged, and they conduct all mission planning and aircraft preparation in advance. The reason is simple.

Aca,!A"We have no room for error,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Baker. Aca,!A"Each FSMT must be ready to go at a momentAca,!a,,cs notice. If weAca,!a,,cre not ready to fly, [someone may lose their life]. That would be an absolute catastrophe; we cannot and we will not let that happen.Aca,!A?

Major Jake Dlugosz is the companyAca,!a,,cs senior leader charged to ensure Co. CAca,!a,,cs readiness -- all the time. The native of Olean, N.Y., and veteran of three combat tours in Iraq, is the company commander and one of several MEDEVAC pilots.

According to Maj. Dlugosz, his company has flown more than 1,100 miles and conducted more than 100 missions during their first 90 days in Iraq. The missions have ranged from transporting drugs needed at a clinic to moving Soldiers with critical combat injuries. Aca,!A"Of the Soldiers transported, about 40 percent of the cases involved combat related incidents, and the remainder have been non-combat [accidents and incidents],Aca,!A? said Maj. Dlugosz.

Major DlugoszAca,!a,,cs unit is comprised of a small administrative element, instructor pilots, maintenance pilots, non-rated aviators, tactical operations officers, crew chiefs and flight medics, among others. Dlugosz attributes his unitAca,!a,,cs success to the quality of his Soldiers. Two of those Soldiers are Spc. Brian Kelley and Sgt. Zachary Marconett.

Sergeant Marconett is a flight medic, from Belton, Mo., and he is on his third combat tour to Iraq. Specialist Kelley, a Boston, Mass., native, is a UH-60 Blackhawk mechanic and crew chief. HeAca,!a,,cs responsible for helping maintain the aircraft, conducting routine, daily maintenance in addition to working as a member of the flight crew with all of its attendant flight responsibilities. Both love their jobs.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cll do this job as long as the Army will allow me,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Marconett. Aca,!A"I truly want to be the guy that is the best part of someoneAca,!a,,cs worst moment,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"I know that when an injured Soldier sees that red cross on the helicopter, they know that theyAca,!a,,cre going to make it. ThatAca,!a,,cs why I do what I do.Aca,!A?

Aca,!A"I love this unit,Aca,!A? agreed Spc. Kelley. Aca,!A"MEDEVAC is all about helping people. I know that when IAca,!a,,cm [awakened] at 2:30 a.m. in the morning, itAca,!a,,cs because a Soldier is hurt and needs evacuation,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"I get up because I want that Soldier to make it home safe. When you work for those reasons, you can wake me up any time.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16