News: Air Cav assists with civilian wounded after IED attack
Story by Sgt. Alun Thomas
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Medevac crews from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, lent urgent medical transportation and care to Iraqi civilians after an improvised explosive device detonated south of Baghdad, Dec. 11.
The IED, which exploded south-west of Baghdad, near the Euphrates River, injured multiple civilian Iraqis. For the air crews, the extreme nature of the attack and injuries prompted actions outside of normal protocols. Usually, Iraqi emergency services evacuate civilians to the nearest local hospital.
After the explosion, fellow Iraqis transported their severely wounded to nearby Forward Operating Base Yusafiyah with hopes of U.S. military medical aid.
The Soldiers who encountered the wounded quickly provided first aid and immediately called for air medevac assets stationed nearby, said Capt. Audrey Boenker, from Huntsville, Ala., operations officer with 2nd Battalion, 1st ACB.
"The crews launched to Yusufiya and once they arrived, there we received the initial [report] that three personnel were injured," Boenker said.
The medevac teams flew to FOB Yusafiyah and found that there were more wounded than there were medics to treat them.
Flight medics quickly jumped off the aircraft, helped evaluate the injured Iraqis and loaded them up for the flight to the 28th Combat Support Hospital at Camp Sather in Baghdad, she said.
While en route to the 28th CSH, the medevac team received an additional call for five more injured Iraqis at FOB Yusafiyah who needed to be evacuated to a CSH.
"We went through a quick course of action ... the clear answer at the time, given the position of the team that was out, was to give it to them as a secondary nine-line," Boenker said. "They could handle the additional five patients that were being called in."
Because of the massive influx of critically injured patients, the Kalsu medevac team communicated to their counterparts in Camp Taji that they may be called upon to transfer some of the wounded, whom they just dropped off at the 28th CSH, to another CSH in Balad.
"We informed Taji to let them know if for some reason there was a follow on from Sather to Balad then we would be passing it off to them," Boenker said. "That way we could do more turns going back to Yusufiya in order to pick up further patients."
The air team returned to FOB Yusafiyah, picked up the remaining five patients.
"The crew then made a smart decision to re-direct to [another medical facility] where our crew dropped off their last two patients there before returning back," Boenker said.
The air medevac team transported eight wounded Iraqis to the two hospitals between two trips in only 70 minutes.
"We haven't had near the patient load or casualty load compared with previous rotations, so this was a great test of the systems we have in place," Boenker said. "The systems we put in place worked. Everybody was able to do the critical thinking required to ensure the mission got done."