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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

About that no man left behind thing......

Abandoned On The Killing Fields - No Medevac Coming

By Roger Charles

A recent IED attack has surfaced an ugly truth -- the Grunts doing the great majority of fighting and dying in Iraq are considered "more expendable" than their REMF comrades, and the people making this determination are themselves, you guessed it, REMF's!!

(Now, before I get a couple hundred emails protesting my use of "REMF's as disparaging of some of our military who are themselves at risk, let me make this point. There is "risk" back in an FOB, no question. Is it the same risk as those who work outside the FOB? Don't think so. Is risk outside the FOB spread evenly? No -- go to one of the infantry companies in Ramadi, or Fallujah, and then compare that risk with someone running convoys between Ramadi and Baghdad. Not the same, but one hell of a lot more than someone back in the TOC at the FOB. And, I fully appreciate the risk faced by our Combat Engineers as they clear roads, and our EOD studs as they deal with IED's/EFP's. A special salute to our Combat Medics/Corpsmen out in the killings fields while I'm at it. And, the drivers who haul ass through IED Avenue -- you've damn sure got my respect!! But,bottom line -- if I've offended anyone who has dodged the occasional mortar shell in route to Burger King, or who has to make do with a 36-inch plasma tv while others, in the Green Zone in Baghdad have 42-inch sets, then I don't apologize. If you want me to place you in the same category as The Grunts, change MOS's! Until then, have the intellectual honesty to admit that REMF's are not deserving of the same respect given to Hack's "Warriors," even if you get the same "Imminent Danger Pay." Let me make it clear that while I respect all who serve our great nation, I am not blind to the reality that not all who serve, share the same threat of death, or of crippling or maiming wounds. And, as to who is a REMF, and who is not -- it's between you and your conscience. If the "shoe" fits, wear it.)

So, imagine this scenario -- you and your buddies have finished another day of training Iraqi troops and are headed back to your FOB (Forward Operating Base) when an especially nasty IED (in the form of EFP, an "Explosively Formed Projectile") explodes into the lead Humvee in your column of three.

The blast is strong enough to flip the Humvee into the air, landing in a ditch on it's top.

Here's what happened, in the words of America's Grunts who where there.

To: Soldiers For the Truth

From: The NCOs of the 4th INP Brigade SPTT Team

The 4/1 SPPT Team was traveling back from Salman Pak to Camp Rustamiyah along EFP alley (RTE Pluto South) on Sunday May 14th about 5:15pm in a 3 vehicle convoy. About 3 miles from Camp Rustamiyah, the first Humvee was hit by a massive roadside bomb called an EFP. The bomb blew the HUMVEE into the air and created a giant cloud of debris, dirt and pavement. We stopped as fast as we could and when the smoke cleared enough, we could see the first HUMVEE had been completely blown off the road and was lying upside down in a ditch. To make matters worse it was also on fire. The rest of the team tried to free the driver and vehicle commander from the wreckage but the frame of the HUMVEE was bent and the door would not open. The two soldiers in the front were trapped inside the burning vehicle and died. We could only pray that they were already dead from the EFP blast and did not burn to death. We tried to pull the front doors off with a winch and a tow strap, but the burning ammunition inside the wreck started to explode and the entire vehicle caught fire and blew up. The gunner was pulled from the wreckage and was severely wounded with shrapnel wounds from the spalling. The Medic with the SPTT Team was able to start working on the gunner to save his life and we gave the interpreter aid as best as we could. A MEDIVAC was immediately called for the litter urgent and critical soldier and the QRF rolled from the FOB. About 10 minutes later the tanks and HUMVEES of the QRF got there and secured the area. What happened at this point is what we need your help with.

The MEDIVAC was denied because we could not guarantee the LZ was not hot. Even with the QRF securing the area, the MEDIVAC was not launched. We were told we had to transport the severely wounded soldier and interpreter back to the FOB, have the aid station stabilize them and the MEDIVAC would then fly to the FOB to pick them up. To complicate matters the QRF did not have an ambulance with them, because the medical until will not roll any of the 20 odd HUMVEE and M113 combat ambulances with the QRF because it is too dangerous outside the FOB. We had to put the soldier in a HUMVEE and drive him to the FOB, where the chicken shit medics were waiting inside the FOB gate to transport him, via ambulance to the TMC. Thank God this soldier is still alive and on his way to Landstuhl. The two soldiers were eventually pulled from the wreckage after a HEMMIT with a tank pump unit put out the fire that engulfed the wrecked HUMVEE. It took the HEMMIT almost an hour to get to the site, 3 miles away from the FOB, because the KBR contracted Fire Department and EMT unit refused to leave the FOB, because their contract states they will ONLY work within the protection of the FOB.

Their brand new fire engines and rescue vehicles were waiting inside the gate when we finally towed the wrecked HUMVEE back. By the time the HEMMIT arrived, both soldiers were burned beyond recognition. to the point where their own wives could not recognize them. Last night at 1:00am in the morning, we loaded the body bags on a helicopter to BIOP and to start their trip home

When we asked why the MEDIVAC would not land on a secured LZ to MEDIVAC the critically wounded soldier, we were told �the policy is that we cannot afford to lose a Blackhawk and crew flying into potentially hostile LZ.� We work in Salman Pak, which is almost an hour southeast of Baghdad. If a soldier is wounded, we are expected to self evac him back to Rustamiyah because �it is too dangerous to send a MEDIVAC, Ambulance or M113 combat medic vehicle (even if it is with the QRF). From he time we landed in Kuwait and after we arrived in Iraq, we were given MEDIVAC procedure cards and even given a MEDIVAC Freq . We were told that all we had to do is call and follow the procedures on the card and a MEDIVAC would be launched. This is BOGUS! ALL Soldiers need to know that unless they are at a FOB, the MEDIVAC will not be launched. Fire departments, EMT, combat medic vehicles, field ambulances all have orders not to leave the FOB because it is to :�dangerous.� The reality is if you are wounded, you are SOL until your own unit puts you into a HUMVEE and you get back to the FOB.
Please help us contact [deleted] about this policy. 4th ID is telling us that �this is just the way things are.� That, �these things happen.� We need your help before this is swept under the rug.

OK, this means two things. One, 11B's are stuck in the sandbox and their bosses are too scared to dust them off. POG's as they call them, seem to be more valuable than grunts. So no one is going to send out a shiny helo to catch an RPG round.

People die over things like this and not just from wounds. Imagine your best friend dies because they didn't launch a dustoff. Your reaction might not be entirely rational.

In Vietnam, fragging started when people could no longer trust their superiors to act in their best interests. The same with combat refusals.

There is another, far more ominous implication here. US units only control as far as their guns can shoot. When commanders are afraid they can't protect dustoffs from ambush, much less an M113, whatever Bush is telling you about Iraq is a total and complete lie. It's easy to say gutless fucking POG's, but the reality is that they cannot secure those vehicles from ambush because they don't have enough armor or men.

And that is truly scary

posted by Steve @ 1:02:00 AM

1:02:00 AM

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