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    We are fighting for the same reason

    'We are fighting for the same reason'

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Saslav | Afghan Uniformed Police Brig. Gen. Jalaludin Jamshed, right, the deputy director of...... read more read more

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE GAMBERI, AFGHANISTAN

    08.25.2013

    Story by Staff Sgt. Jerry Saslav 

    4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs

    LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – “We wear different uniforms, but we are fighting for the same reason,” said Afghan Uniformed Police Brig. Gen. Jalaludin Jamshed, “[The purpose of] today’s meeting is how we can provide health care for causalities, regardless of uniform or [tribal affiliations]?”

    Providing timely and effective healthcare for Afghan National Security Forces members, especially for those injured in combat against the enemies of Afghanistan, might seem like a basic function of the ANSF; and it is.

    Delivering these vital medical services more efficiently was the reason Jamshed, deputy director, Operational Coordination Center-Regional, and his fellow officers from the Afghan National Army, Afghan Border Police, Afghan National Civil Order Police and National Directorate of Security met in a windowless, map-filled command post on Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Aug. 25.

    As the ANSF continue to assume more responsibility for their nation’s security, more combat operations become ANSF only operations, with Coalition Forces assuming an advise and assist role. This translates to fewer Coalition Forces being needed in Afghanistan. When a Coalition Force unit rotated out, it would be replaced with a smaller unit.

    Medical evacuation helicopter units were specifically affected by CF reductions. Due to a lack of trained personnel and helicopters, the ANSF have not been able to duplicate that effort.

    The ANSF has had to carefully manage the medical evacuation assets that they do have.

    And that is the purpose of this meeting.

    “We are the OCC-R and our job is to coordinate among all ANSF,” said Jamshed, “We should be reporting for all activities and incidents that happen in the 201st [Corps area of operations] which is not happening.”

    The OCC-R is a planning and coordination unit. It is comprised of personnel from the ANA, Afghan Uniformed Police, ABP, ANCOP, and the NDS. The purpose of the OCC-R is to bring together these various organizations in an effort to find solutions to issues that arise in the province; whether it is a terrorist attack by the enemies of Afghanistan, coordinating disaster relief for river floods in villages, or coordinating and planning for the 2014 national elections. The OCC-R operates on the same level as the ANA’s 201st Corps; and just as the 201st Corps has subordinate brigades that operate in specific regions of Afghanistan, the OCC-R has subordinate units called Operational Coordination Center-Provincial. The job of the OCC-P is to coordinate with the ANA, ABP, ANCOP, NDS and local leaders.

    When it comes to injured or wounded medical personnel, the priority is to treat the patient, which is being done; notifying the OCC-Ps or OCC-R hasn’t been done as effectively.

    “For example, In Kunar or Nuristan if there are any casualties, that report is coming to the OCC-R after a long time, when the wounded soldiers have died. When the soldier died they would report it to the OCC-R, before that happened they would not report it,” said Jamshed, “If we have a good coordination … we can kill all problems and have good achievements.”

    What came out of the meeting was this: when a service member is injured his unit will bring him to the closest hospital. Since there are few regional medical centers, this will usually be the units own battalion aid station. This will usually be done by ground transportation, since this is the normal mode of transportation for all ANSF units. The unit will radio its immediate headquarters and notify them they are heading for the nearest hospital and the route that they are taking.

    This information will be relayed to the OCC-R.

    “All ground medevac, from the point of injury to the last level of care should be tracked,” said ANA Col. (Dr.) Shahidullah Akbari, Corps surgeon, 201st Corps, “In most cases we should use ground medevac ... if it is impossible ... then they should request air medevac.”

    Air medevac is not as simple as requesting a helicopter. The enemies of Afghanistan have been known to attack clearly marked medical aircraft, which are unarmed. Therefore, the medical helicopters are accompanied by attack aircraft, whose job it is to protect the medical helicopter. It takes time to assemble the aircraft and direct them to where the injured service member is. Also, Afghanistan does not have enough medical helicopters (and their escorts) to have them always on standby.

    There are specific criteria for requesting an air medevac; if a service member is in danger of dying, losing a limb or their eyesight, if ground transportation is not available (i.e. a small outpost on the top of a mountain is attacked) or if the distance to the nearest hospital is too great to ensure timely care.

    While this might sound harsh; due to the limited air resources, an air medevac request for a minor gunshot wound to the arm might be denied while a serious gunshot wound to the chest would probably be approved.

    This is where the OCC-R comes into play.

    While the patient is being transported by ground to the nearest treatment facility, a request for air medevac is made to the OCC-R medical officer, a doctor, who will quickly review the details of the injury. If the doctor believes the injury meets the criteria for air medevac, he will then submit the request to the Afghan Air Command and Control Center. If the request is approved and an air mission is launched, then there is coordination between the air and ground units to ensure a safe and timely transfer of the patient.

    If the request is denied (i.e. all available aircraft are already transporting patients) then a request is submitted to the Coalition Forces who repeat the same process.

    All the while the patient is being transported towards the nearest treatment facility.

    There is another reason the OCC-R needs to be involved.

    “The Border Police have zero helicopters to provide air medevac,” said Senior Maj. (Dr.) Niamant, Zone 1 surgeon, Afghan Border Police. “Whenever we have a casualty and ground medevac is impossible, we are asking the Afghan Air Corps to support us with the air medevac. In most places where [there are] border police, ground evacuation is very hard or impossible.”

    While the ABP does not possess helicopters, they do have medical treatment facilities that can treat other ANSF personnel. This is why it is important that all ANSF member organizations work together.

    “If you don’t have good coordination [between] all ANSF, local hospitals … you can’t provide good patient care for the causalities,” said Capt. (Dr.) Dad Mohammad, supervisor, Corps surgeon cell, 201st Corps, “but if we are supporting each other, if [we] are supporting each other’s causalities … we will provide good healthcare on time.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.25.2013
    Date Posted: 08.30.2013 06:50
    Story ID: 112904
    Location: FORWARD OPERATING BASE GAMBERI, AF 
    Hometown: FORT DRUM, NY, US
    Hometown: FORT POLK, LA, US

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