News: Charlie 1-52nd airlift puts an uplifting spin on NWTC training
Story by Staff Sgt. Patricia McMurphy
BLACK RAPIDS, Alaska - The wind ripped the loose soil from the ground and sprayed water from a nearby creek as the UH-60 Black Hawk’s whirling rotors lowered the medical evacuation helicopter from the cloudy skies to a safe hovering distance over the Northern Warfare Training Center’s Black Rapids Training Site.
A flight medic was quickly lowered to the ground. The team carrying the casualty met the medic and relayed all pertinent information to him before the casualty was hoisted out.
The team gave the medic all the information they had on the casualty as he hooked the stretcher to the hoist for evacuation.
As the hoist quickly lifted the casualty out of the ravine and loaded him onto the helicopter, the soldiers on the ground rejoined their squad and waited as the medic was lifted out and the Black Hawk left the area.
Though the crew trains constantly for such emergencies, this trip was just a training exercise. The casualty in this case was just a life-like dummy used to train not only the flight crew, but the students attending the Northern Warfare Training Center’s Basic Mountaineering Course.
After the airlift demonstration, the helicopter landed and the crew from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment talked with the BMC students about the assets they provide.
“The U.S. Army is the only service in the [Department of Defense] that has dedicated air ambulances,” said Company Commander Maj. Heath Holt. “There are medics on every aircraft.”
“We don’t go out and do air assault missions; we don’t go out and do insertions, air movements or anything like that,” Holt said. “Those aircraft are held in reserve for [wounded] U.S. soldiers.”
“Medevac is different from casevac [casualty evacuation], it is just an aircraft, like an assault bird, that has two crew chiefs in the back,” Holt said. “They can scoop in and pick you up, but they have no medical equipment with them, they just happened to be the closest at the time.”
Spc. Robbie Meade, flight medic from C. Company, 1/52nd instructed the students on their roles and responsibilities in a medical evacuation.
“We carry electronics that read blood pressure, pulse and heart rhythms,” Meade said. “We have oxygen, advanced airways - everything for that golden hour to save your soldier’s life enroute back to higher echelon.”
“When I am on the ground, keep it simple with the handoff,” Meade said, referring to the transfer of the casualty. “Let me know the vitals, what happened and about what time [the injuries occurred].”
“Any information you can give me is going to help me out to save your buddy’s life,” Meade said.