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    1st Air Cavalry Brigade MEDEVAC Aircrew Saves Injured Hiker

    1st Air Cavalry MEDEVAC Aircrew Saves Injured Hiker

    Photo By Sgt. Shiloh Capers | The "1st Up" crew of Charlie Company 2-227th Aviation Regiment visits patient Bruce...... read more read more

    Fort Hood, Texas — Charlie Company MEDEVAC, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, receives notice from the Texas Department of Emergency Services that their assistance is requested in the rescue of an injured hiker isolated in Guadalupe Mountain National Park, April 28.

    Bruce McGlasson started his hike two days prior, with a friend. Neither one had hiked Guadalupe Mountain National Park before but the pair estimated the 11-mile hike would only last a day.

    During the hike, McGlasson’s friend decided he was too physically tired to continue and turned back. McGlasson, determined to summit, continued without his partner to the peak. On the descent, he came to a fork and about 30 minutes later realized he took the wrong trail and was lost.

    Shortly afterward, McGlasson fell down into approximately a 20-foot ravine and shattered his right foot with a compound fracture. He calls 911 while he still can, as his battery is dropping. He is told to crawl away from the cover of the ravine, if he wants to be rescued.

    911 responder: “Get out, you need to be seen. So the helicopters can see ya.”

    McGlasson: “My foot’s all busted up, I don’t know if I can get around.”

    911 Responder: “It doesn’t matter, you need to do it.”

    McGlasson crawls away from the ravine but stays in a shaded area to escape the sun and heat. His battery dies and he waits for rescue.

    Day turns to night and back to day, and McGlasson’s thoughts of being located remain.

    Repeatedly, he hears the helicopters above as they continue in their search patterns both during the day and the night. However, he never sees the helicopters. On Sunday, the helicopters drift away and McGlasson feels frustration.

    “I felt time was running out but I wasn’t giving up hope,” he said. “I could tell my body was starting to shut down, I was getting weaker and my voice was getting hoarse. I was sitting up so I could wave but I couldn’t stand up anymore.”

    During the search for McGlasson, rescue climbers with search dogs tracked him to the ravine. The difficulty of the terrain made it too dangerous for the dogs to climb and the rescue climbers couldn’t determine McGlasson’s location.

    The rescue climbers and search dogs circle the area, calling out his name.

    “I was very dehydrated at the time and I yelled back,” McGlasson said. “I didn’t think they’d hear me and I wasn’t sure at the time but they did. A short time later, an hour maybe, that’s when I saw that beautiful helicopter.”

    At approximately 1112 hours Mountain time on Sunday, Charlie Company received approval and rapidly prepared for a mission profile that included a hoist rescue at approximately 7,000 feet in altitude, 78 nautical miles from Biggs Army Airfield, in rugged mountainous terrain.

    The “1st up” aircrew launched from Biggs Army Airfield and landed at Cavern City Air Terminal for their first refuel stop en route to the isolated hiker’s location. Once on site, the HH-60 Blackhawk hovered above the patient and hoisted Staff Sgt. Anthony Steelman, flight medic, 75 feet down to the patient and two civilian first responder rescue hikers.

    “That was the most satisfying thing about the mission,” Steelman remarked. “The look of relief and joy from Bruce when I first got down to him.”

    Steelman remained on the mountain with the patient to perform medical aid and assistance while the aircrew returned to Cavern City Air Terminal to refuel. During this time, McGlasson emptied two bottles of water before Steelman successfully inserted an IV into McGlasson.

    After refueling, the Blackhawk helicopter and crew returned to the site and remained on station while Steelman prepared the patient and two civilian responders for hoist operations.

    Given the high altitude and subsequent high fuel burn rate, the aircraft was forced to return for a third and final refuel at Cavern City in order to have enough fuel on board to execute the extraction and fly to the nearest medical facility. Upon returning to the site, Steelman secured the patient and rescue climbers for safe hoist operations and direct transport to University Medical Center.

    “The hardest part was navigating and locating the climber in mountainous terrain, not being able to land, and having to rescue hoist the patient,” Steelman said. “The rescue climbers helped me with the patient and if it wasn’t for their help, I don’t think I could’ve done it.”

    The pilots and aircrew performed the final evacuation, hoisting the patient and first responders from the mountainous terrain, roughly 75 feet up to the aircraft.

    Finally, the HH-60 departed the mountain with the minimum fuel required to travel back to an airport safely, commonly referred to as “BINGO” fuel.

    McGlasson was admitted into the University Medical Center and started receiving professional medical care.

    He never expected to have visitors while he recovered to be released, he said.

    “I thought I’d never see them again and they came and saw me in the hospital, it was fantastic. Everybody on that rescue came to see me and they didn’t have to do that,” McGlasson commented. “I love those guys and if I could, I’d do anything in the world for them. There’s not enough gratitude in this world to express how I feel. This was not an easy rescue, it was very dangerous, and they did it anyway.”

    Charlie Company 2-227th Aviation Regiment prepares and trains for scenarios like this.

    “Charlie 2-227's MEDEVAC crew epitomized the true spirit of “Dustoff”, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, and the 1st Cavalry Division throughout this mission,” said Lt. Col. Jason S. Raub, commander, 2-227th Aviation Regiment. “They flawlessly executed a remote and confined mountainous operation at 7,000 feet with the added complexity and risk inherent to live hoist operations. Throughout, the team demonstrated disciplined initiative, sound judgement, and excellence in teamwork to save a stranded hiker who was isolated and severely injured for three days.”



    Date Taken: 05.10.2019
    Date Posted: 05.10.2019 11:08
    Story ID: 321817
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 

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