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    Air med, always ready

    Air med, always ready

    Photo By Staff Sgt. James Bunn | A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters sit on the flightline, ready to respond to any medical...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. James Bunn 

    U.S. Army Central   

    CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – On the battlefield, an air medical helicopter can mean the difference between life and death for an injured Soldier.

    Getting to an injured Soldier in what is known as “the golden hour” after an injury greatly improves that Soldier’s odds. This requires a well-trained team of medics, pilots and crew chiefs who are ready to respond at a moments notice.

    When a medical emergency that requires an air evacuation arises in the U.S. Army Central area of operations, Soldiers rely on medics and aircrews stationed at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

    “We provide medevac coverage anywhere in Kuwait,” said 1st Lt. Timothy Berryhill, an aviator with 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment. “We get up in the air very quickly and are given precedence over all other aircraft in the airspace. We can get casualties to a medical facility within 60 minutes. Being able to provide medevac coverage anywhere in the USARCENT area of responsibility makes us a ready and responsive force. It allows us to get to troops in need and enables us to keep the mission going.”

    Staying ready for action means that Soldiers assigned to 1-137th Aviation Regiment, work in shifts around the clock. Crew chiefs and mechanics make sure helicopters are ready to fly 24/7.

    “Providing coverage all over Kuwait means we stay on the airfield for up to 48 hours shifts waiting for medevac calls,” said Berryhill. “When a call comes in we have no more than 15 minutes to be in the air. Crew chiefs are an absolute crucial part of our mission. They provide the maintenance that keeps us running. If an aircraft goes down because of a maintenance issue it’s the same as saying ‘we don’t have medical coverage.’”

    Not only do crew chiefs make sure the helicopters are ready to fly but they also monitor it while it is airborne and whenever necessary they help medics care for their patients.

    “Having a good crew chief is really important,” said Staff Sgt. Ronald Benavidez, a medic with 1-137th Aviation Regiment. “ If a medevac is called, the first people you see rushing to the aircraft is the pilot and crew chief. Not only do crew chiefs monitor the aircraft while it’s in flight, if I as a medic need an additional hand in patient care then he can to provide additional aid.”

    Keeping a helicopter ready for a casualty evacuation is not just keeping it in the air, it also making sure medical equipment is ready and easily accessible.

    “Before a shift we make sure the helicopter is prepared so we can get in and out to the casualty as quickly as possible,” said Sgt. Gregory Martinez, a crew chief with 1-137 Aviation Battalion. “Personally I feel responsible for this helicopter’s ability to perform the mission. It’s not just going to affect my crew or myself if it can’t get off the ground on time, it’s possibly going to cost someone their life. Making sure this helicopter is ready even before I assume duty is paramount.”

    The crews that provide medical evacuation take their job very seriously said Martinez. The job provides a sense of purpose because you know what your job means to the troops on the ground.

    “To me, medevac personnel are going to come and turn your really bad day into a better one,” said Martinez. “When you’re hurt on the battlefield you can trust that someone is coming and will get you to a medical facility no matter what the circumstances.”



    Date Taken: 10.22.2015
    Date Posted: 10.29.2015 05:03
    Story ID: 180268
    Location: CAMP BUEHRING, KW

    Web Views: 165
    Downloads: 0