Medevacs & Medics, Angels of Mercy
“Angels with faces - a most noble calling”
By Ed Marek, editor
March 17, 2012
For the past 8-9 years, while running this web site as a hobby, I have written multiple stories about our military medevac and medical people in war. As an Indochina War veteran who flew aboard combat reconnaissance missions, mostly over Laos, I have always had a special spot in my heart for those who we all knew would come to our aid if we got into trouble during combat operations. In the Air Force, we knew it would virtually stop the air war to go in to save a downed crew. In researching Army and Marine operations, I have also learned what a massive effort is put into getting our wounded out of the killing zone and into medical hands. I have further learned the extent of this medical system available to our wounded from the medic working on a downed troop in the killing zone all the way to getting wounded soldiers to some of the most sophisticated medical facilities and capable medical hands available in the world. All of this is done with a level of professionalism that exceeds my command of the English language to describe.
In looking at my existing content, I noted that I had not transferred these stories to my new format. I was astonished and embarrassed. So I have reassembled a group of these stories in an effort to give you a wide picture of what our medevacs and medics do on behalf of our men and women in combat. The looks on the faces of those men shown above carrying a wounded troop to a medical facility and on the face of this nurse tell the whole story. Shivers run up and down my spine.
Before pressing ahead, I invite recommendations of other stories to add. Simply let me know through my “Contact section.”
“Dustoff” is a well known name to those who have been in combat since the Indochina War. It came into common use in 1962 when the 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) arrived in Vietnam as the first aeromedical helicopter evacuation unit to enter the war. The unit used it as a callsign. Throughout Vietnam, and since, Dustoff has been known to mean medevac helicopter with pilots and medical-rescue crew aboard.
The term Dustoff also came to mean, “That others may live.”
A radio blared out to men in the jungle of Vietnam:
“Dustoff to strike force. Ready your wounded. ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) 60 seconds from your LZ (landing zone). We’re coming in.”
And come in they did, even under intense hostile fire, often even when told to stay away because of the dangers.
MSgt. Stan Hutchson, a Vietnam vet, wrote a poem entitled, simply, "Dustoff," and it opens like this:
"They come in fast and furious. Sliding in over the top of a tree. A better sight on all this earth. Believe me, you’ll never see."
The stories are in stand-alone sections.
“Combat Kelly’s” creed: “No compromise. No rationalization. No Hesitation. Fly the mission. Now!"
Birth of the 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance - AA)
The case of Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements
Compassion on the battlefield, “a most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity”
“Corpsman up!” Faulhaber and Wheeler
“Doc, let’s go!” And she went
America lost a hero today - "Just a farm boy from Utah" - George E. Wahlen
Forward Surgical Team, the FST
Live RPG impaled in his abdomen, Army medical team saves his life
"The miracle of Iraq is actually in Medevac"
Our wounded will not walk their journey alone!
This is why I am here: “Those guys are out there taking care of America," taking bullets for us