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US Army MEDEVAC Changemakers

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>>Karen Lloyd: Good afternoon. I’m Karen Lloyd, director of the
Veterans History Project here at the Library of Congress,
and on behalf of our team, the Library, and the
Librarian of Congress, I’d like to thank you for
choosing to be with us today. As an Army aviator who served as
a dust-off pilot, I am thrilled to welcome you to today’s
unprecedented Medevac Panel. Not only am I a veteran, I’m
the daughter of a veteran, I’m the widow of a veteran,
and I’m the sister of veterans. We’re here today, if you’re here
today or watching from home, I encourage you to think about
who the veteran in your life is. Maybe it’s a member of your
family, a friend, a teacher. Their experiences,
thoughts, and memories make up the unique tapestry that
is our nation’s history. The mission of the Veterans
History Project is to collect, preserve, and make
accessible the memories of our nation’s veterans so
that we can hear directly from them what they saw, what
they felt, what they heard. The human experience
of military service. These first-hand narratives
reinforced the realities of their selfless service so all can better understand
and appreciate them. Since October 2000, we have
been asking individuals and organizations to reach out
to the veterans in their lives and communities and share
those treasured narratives with our national library so
future generations will be able to hear directly
from those who were on the front lines of history. The Veterans History Project is
home to over 110,000 collections from World War II through
the current conflicts. Every branch, conflict,
ethnicity, gender, and every congressional
district are represent. The archive includes
privates to captains, midshipmen to Medevac pilots. We hope you will take part
in this historical endeavor by interviewing the veteran in
your life and also by checking out the many digitized
collections that are available on our website,
www.loc.gov/vets. They are the stories of those
who came before and those here that are inspiring changemakers. Their stories are our stories. At this time, I am delighted to introduce today’s
Medevac panel moderator, an award-winning
broadcast journalist and a decorated combat veteran of the 1991 Gulf
War, Mr. Chas Henry. Chas served in the U.S.
Marine Corp, rising in rank from private to captain. He graduated with honors
from the University of Southern California School
of Cinema and Television, where his coursework focused
on documentary filmmaking. But that wasn’t enough. He went on to study
transnational security issues and financial markets
at University of Oxford and earned his master’s
degree in security studies from Georgetown University’s
School of Foreign Service. Chas is from Washington
DC where he worked as soon as television reporter with
Channel 8 News, ABC 7 News, as a radio news anchor
at WTOP, WNDW, and the Westwood One Radio
Network and was the host of Eye on Veterans, which is broadcast
nationally by CBS News Radio. Journalist assignments have
over the years taken him to more than 30 countries
on five continents. He has reported from Iraq,
from Afghanistan, from Cutter, and was selected for national
security related fellowships by the Council of
Foreign Relations, the Radio Television
Digital News Foundation, and the Western Night Center
for Specialized Journalism. From 2008 to 2012, Chas directed
corporate communications for nonprofit think tanks,
first the U.S. Naval Institute and then the Institute
for the Defense Analyses. His reporting has
been recognized with the Regional
Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television
Digital News Association and selected numerous
tributes by Associated Press and the Society of
Professional Journalists. In 2015, he was inducted into
the Marine Corp Marathon Hall of Fame for his work for them
for over 20 years, and in 2017, he was elected to the Board of the Military Reporters
and Editors. So, if you’ll join me in a
warm welcome for Chas Henry. Chas. [ Applause ]>>Chas Henry: Thank
you very much, Karen. Now, a lot of you know, as
Karen just explained the work that she does as head of the
Veterans History Project, it’s an incredible
contribution to our nation, but what you probably
don’t know is that Colonel Lloyd was
the first woman officer in the Army’s Medical Service
Corp to earn aviator wings, an incredible accomplishment
[applause] and an expertise that we may call
on in the course of our conversation today,
talking about Medevac. It’s a genuine pleasure
for me to be here as part of this important work of
gathering veteran stories and making them available for
fellow Americans to appreciate. During the 1960s and
1970s conflict in Vietnam, there was no more welcome
sound to a wounded soldier, a marine in the field,
than the thwap, thwap, thwap rhythmic thumping sound
made by the rotor blades of a Huey helicopter
on what became known as dust-off missions. You heard that sound, you knew
that someone was on the way to take you someplace
to get better. Now, the Army had undertaken
medical evacuation flights in World War II, somewhat
came into their own in Korea or at least experimentation
began, but helicopter medical
evacuation, Medevacs, I always have to look that
word up every time I am going to use it, med for medical
and then evac, M-E-D-E-V-A-C, came into really wide use
during the war in Vietnam, a central part of the Army
medical department’s concept of battlefield care. During the war in Vietnam,
Medevac operations became known as dust-off missions,
and I’m hoping that we’ll learn exactly
how that came to be in the course of
our conversation. The designation stuck. Since that time, dust-off
crews have continued to risk their lives in
order to save others. And today, we’ll hear stories
and thoughts from both retired and active duty aviators
involved in Medevac operations, and the evolution of Medevac
technology, quality of care, and culture will be the
general topic of conversation. Now, obviously, there
are two important parts to this equation. There is aviation, as we’ve come to understand it
in Vietnam sense. Then there’s the medical aspect
of taking care of those people as they’re being evacuated. This, if you will, pun
intended, is a pilot program, so we’re looking at the aviation
portion of that equation, and this will be
part of something that we hope will be
ongoing to explore the topic in future panels
in greater detail. We have an exceptional font of
experience to call on to track that evolution, a panel whose
service spans from 1967 to 2019, and when totaled, now
you have to be careful when there’s a journalist
doing math, but as I added up, 96 years of aviation and
Medevac experience here to help us understand this. Beginning our panel, Colonel
Merl Snyder ‘s distinguished 30-year Army career included
service as an aviator, commander and senior staff officer. He rose in rank from
private to colonel. In Vietnam, he flew 1387
missions, evacuated more than 3000 patients, and
is recognized as one of the most respected
and heroic pilots in the dust-off community. He negotiated a medical
support plan with the Israeli defense force for a peacekeeping
operation in the Sinai. He converted the 422nd Medical
Company into the Army’s first and most proficient
evacuation battalion, a battalion focused just
on this sort of operation. The Army surgeon
general credited him with forward deploying
44 hospitals, 13,500 beds during the operation
we know as dessert storm, part of the fastest mobilization
in our nation’s history. His many awards include
the Silver Star, the distinguished flying medal,
the distinguished service medal, six Legions of Merit, and the
distinguished Flying Cross. He was a master army aviator
and instrument flight examiner, and in February 2000,
Colonel Snyder was inducted into the dust-off hall of fame. Next, Colonel Douglas Moore. Doug’s distinguished career
includes service as an aviator, commander and senior
staff officer. During two tours in Vietnam,
he flew 1874 combat missions, evacuated 2782 patients,
and piloted the aircraft that recovered three
American prisoners of war from the North Vietnamese in a highly sensitive mission
along the Cambodian border. Between those Vietnam tours, he
helped organize a unit in Japan that transported more than 63,000 casualties
in a two-year period. Later, he commanded the 307th
medical battalion and the 82nd, pardon me, 82nd Airborne
Division. Served as a team chief
in the Department of the Army Inspector
General Agency and commanded the 62nd Medical
Croup at Fort Lewis, Washington, where he served as
air mission commander for the massive rescue
effort following the eruption of Mount Saint Helen. He was serving as
executive officer for the Army Surgeon
General when he retired after 30 years of service. Among his awards and decorations
are the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished
Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross,
Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. In February 2004,
Doug was inducted into the dust-off hall of fame. Next, helping bring
this conversation into the present day,
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Roley, currently serving at
Fort Belvoir Virginia, where he is executive officer
to the commanding general, Regional Health Command
Atlantic. Over the course of his Army
career, Paul has served as a platoon leader, executive
officer, medical platoon leader, company operations officer, and
battalion operations officer. His assignments have taken him
to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, South Korea, Fort
Lewis Washington, Fort Bragg North Carolina, and
Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan during 2009, he
commanded a detachment of U60 and AH64 helicopters, supporting
a special operations task force there. Lieutenant Colonel Roley
has completed studies at the Army Command and
General Staff College, commanded a company in the
101st Aviation Regiment, served as executive officer of
an aviation battalion deployed to Afghanistan, and did a tour as aeromedical evacuation
officer on the staff of the U.S. Joint Chiefs. Most recently he commanded
an aviation battalion based at Hunter Army Airfield
in Georgia. His awards and decorations
include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious
Service Medal, the Meritorious Service
Medal and Air Medal as well as an Army Commendation Medal and Joint Service
Achievement Medal and an Army Achievement Medal. And currently on the
active force at the end of our panel seats
there, discussing sort of operations ongoing today,
we’re pleased to be joined by Lieutenant Colonel
Nate Forrester. Nate was commissioned in 1988. He holds a Bachelor of Science
degree in political science from North Georgia College and
a Master’s of Science Degree in Emergency and
Disaster Management from American Military
University. His military education has
included the Army Medical Department officer basic course, initial entry rotary
wing aviator, the aircraft survivability
and electronic warfare course, aeromedical evacuation doctrine
course, as well as studies at the U.S. Army Command
and General Staff College. He’s a Lieutenant Colonel now. He’s been selected for colonel,
so hopefully that’ll pop soon. Over the course of his Army
career, he’s been in Kansas, South Korea, Kentucky,
Texas, North Carolina, and the Washington DC area. He served as a medical
platoon leader, forward support Medevac
team leader, company operations officer,
flight operations officer, medical evacuation planner. He’s commanded a medical
company, an aviation company, and a headquarters company,
overseen assignments of fellow officers and soldier at the Army’s human
resources command, and been executive officer to the Army’s deputy
surgeon general as well as aviation force management
officer in the office of the Surgeon General. His most recent assignment
was as commander of an aviation battalion in the
82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. Among Lieutenant Forrester’s
decorations two awards, the Bronze Star Medal,
three Air Medals, and three meritorious
service medals. So, obviously a good deal of
expertise to call on and first of all, let’s thank them
for this cumulative service. [ Applause ] So, let begin with a question,
sort of move down the panel, and to hopefully start
off with some anecdotes that will show the interesting
life and death nature and perhaps humorous nature,
as it may come into play, of medevac operations. If I can ask each of
you, starting with Merl, to share a medevac anecdote,
something that comes to mind when somebody asks you well
what’s medevac flying like.>>Merl Snyder: Well, it’s a lot
of boredom following by sheer, how to, sheer terror, I guess. But the bulk of our missions are
pretty routine, but every once in a while, you get one
that you’ll never forget. But, we joined a great team that
did a lot of really great thing. But it was like a
life-changing experience for me. It gave me, you know, reason
for serving, save someone or to get someone out of a
really, really bad situation. So, it was quite
harrowing sometimes.>>Chas Henry: Is there
an incident that sticks in your mind as exemplary
of that?>>Merl Snyder: Well, I
was going to mention one that I think my boss, Doug
Moore, here sent me on evacuate and about 50 years ago, I guess. His memory is probably better
than mine, so if I fail to cover it, he’ll probably
correct me a little bit. But we got called, you know,
from a dead stop to airborne in about two minutes or less,
and we had a little horn that would go off at our ops
where Doug was the chief. And we would get
airborne and kind of find out when we were airborne
where we were going. And we were called
to try to help out a light observation
helicopter that had been shot down in a small clearing. He probably doesn’t
even remember this, because it was fairly routine. So, we deployed with
myself, a co-pilot, crew chief, and a medic. Got to the area, which
wasn’t all that far away, and we had hunter-killer teams
that we used to call them that we’d have a light
observation helicopter that would be trying
to find bad guys, and they would usually have some
gunships that would be circling around to try and put
fire on the bad guys. Unfortunately, the light
observation helicopter was just one of the little LOH,
OH6’s at the time, was shot down in
a small clearing. And we knew from the
cobras that were circling that the observer was alive
and underneath the air craft. That it had not crashed,
but it was landed there, and the pilot had been killed. So, we had a series of aircraft
that were pretty well expended with ammo, so we couldn’t put
fire to suppress the enemies that were right all around us. And we determined right then that if we don’t do it now
we’ll never do it, so we needed to make the decision to go
in and do the best we could. And although the area was pretty
small, it was nothing special about the approach, other than having a little
fire coming at us. But we were able
to not get any hits on the way into the approach. And once we landed, we had
a medic and a crew chief, Gordy Gastin and Ray
Duall, that were as heroic as any persons I
ever served with. So, they said, what
should we do. I said, well, let’s go get them. So, he went over and firing,
you know, from the hip into the tree line where we
could actually see the people shooting at us. And the medic was able,
Gordy was able to determine that the pilot was
in fact killed and slouched over
in the aircraft. So, they got the wounded
patient, the observer, the staff sergeant, and they
actually carried him arm over an arm through the
clearing to the aircraft. And, of course, that’s a
sight you’ll never forget. It looks like something you
would maybe see in a John Movie, but you actually saw
it really happen. So, they were able
to get the aircraft, get the person in the aircraft. We had a few hits in the
aircraft, but we were able to, you know, get airborne
and get out of there. And I think the [inaudible]
on this part belongs to these crew members that
actually, you know, were, you know, when you actually see
people firing at you from 20, 30 yards away, it
gets pretty hectic. But I would say that was one that I clearly won’t
forget and what have you. But, you know, it’s
just something that will live in my mind. But we were so fortunate to be
able to do something like that. And anyway. So, that’s one that
I kind of remember. Now, Doug may remember
that differently than that, but that’s kind of
as I remember it. He was listening on the
radio, I guess, and–>>Chas Henry: This may be even
a worse situation to be in than in the cockpit, right?>>Douglas Moore: Yeah.>>Merl Snyder: Yeah. Anyhow, that’s–>>Chas Henry: So, Doug, an anecdote that
comes to your mind.>>Douglas Moore: Well,
let me first of all say that I’ve told many people this. If there’s any such thing as
having a good job in combat, I had one flying dust-off. It’s something I’ll be
proud of all my life. But you said, mention something that involved a little
danger and a little humor. Let me tell you,
I’ll tell you one. When I was at Cu Chi during
my second tour, we were just down the street from
the 12th evac hospital about a quarter mile away, and
when we scrambled at night, the prevailing wind
meant that we’d take off over the 12th evac hospital,
and Merl remembers it. And as we would take off,
we would try to maintain about ten feet off the top of
the power lines, build up speed, and because when we
passed over the hospital, they’d usually have a volleyball
net stretch across their helipad and a bunch of docs and
nurses and medical staff out there volleyball,
and they’d have a couple of GI folding tables off to one
side with some jars of martinis and beer and that sort. So, we’d try to stay
about 10 feet above them, and they’d hear us coming down
the street, see the Red Cross on the front of the
helicopter, and they’d give us that famous one fingered salute
that was popular [laughter] in Vietnam those days. But I remember one day
when the 101st Airborne, and these guys all belong to
the 101st, they send a battalion down to work with us there
in the 25th division, and they found a large enemy
force about 10 miles north of Cu Chi, and they
airlifted this battalion out to head them off. And I went out probably about
4:00 in the afternoon and picked up a soldier from them that just
had a bad cold or something. He wasn’t wounded. And while I set on the ground,
one of the company commanders of this 101st battalion
walked over to the helicopter, stuck his head in my
window, and said, hey, in this south Texas
drawl, said hey, sir. He said, you all
better get ready. He said, we expect we’re going
to have a real pissing contest on our hand as soon
as it gets dark and these guys try to break out. Well, that’s exactly what
happened, and when it got dark, an entire North Vietnamese
regimen came out over A Company and just destroyed them. And we launched three
helicopters when their call for help came, and
my lead aircraft, flown by a guy named Doug
McNeil that he knows well and my wife knows well,
he got shot down coming out of the LZ loaded
with about 10 patients. And so, I landed alongside
him and picked up his patients and picked up the crew,
took them back Cu Chi, and then I came back and
joined my other aircraft, and within a period of
probably 30 minutes, we delivered 26 badly wounded
GIs to the 12th evac hospital. Now, imagine if something like
that were to happen at one of our military or
civilian hospitals. It would be utter chaos. But the 12th evac handled all
26 of those guys very rapidly, and the hospital
commander told me later on that every one of them lived. Well after making sure my crew
that got shot down was okay, and they were, none of them were
hurt, and making arrangement to have my aircraft, my aircraft
that was down in the woods, picked up the next morning at
daybreak, I finally got in bed about 2:30, 3:00 in the morning. And I was sleeping soundly when I thought I heard
somebody giggling. And as I struggled to wake up, I
suddenly realized there were six or eight doctors from
the 12th evac standing in their hospital scrubs
in a circle around my bed, and in between their tee hees,
I heard one of them say, well, let’s wake his ass up. And that’s when the
cold water hit me. I mean they just showered me. But, you know, that’s the kind
of thing we did in Vietnam. You could go from one extremely
dangerous situation to something that was funny, and sometimes
it was fun that kept us going, that kept us out there. And like I said, I couldn’t
have asked for a better job than the one that Merl
and I had in Vietnam.>>Chas Henry: Paul.>>Paul Roley: Well, again, for
me it’s been an absolutely honor to be a part of this, this kind
of messaging and be able to talk to folks about the
different experiences. Obviously being able to spend
time with these gentleman and just the absolute, for
us, as the younger generation, I’ve looked up to these
guys for so many years through our dust-off
associations and things like that. It’s an absolutely honor to
be a part of that with them. You know, for us, in this, the
next generation [inaudible], for me it’s been, I’ve
been able to fly lots of different helicopters
and do lots of different missions
besides just medevac, but medevac is always going
to be that thing I go back to, the thing that I love. The absolute adrenaline rush,
the fear, the happiness, the joy, the friendships,
the camaraderie. You know, some of the funny
things that we would do, as we talked about, to break
the ice, to get out of the, after you get back from a
tough mission that we’d do, and then also just the
times that you’d have that were absolutely
heartbreaking, and yet you worked
together as a team to continue on and get back up. And you knew for as medevac
pilots and medevac crews, it was always about the next
mission, the next person. You had to turn around
pretty quickly and be able to get back after that. I know one of the funny
things, we always joked around when we were
flying back in Balad. I remember Balad very,
Balad, Iraq, very clearly. So, one of the things that
was, you know, if you’ve been around medevac, medevac is, it’s
gory, it’s death, it smells, there’s distinct smells with it
that aren’t going to leave you, but you come back into the
hospital as you land on the pad, and it was always the smell
of the docs and the nurses and the medics at the, at this
place it was the Air Force hospital, who always seemed to have had showered
right before you arrived, and so it was just like the
smell of shampoo and things as you, you have all this crazy
smell, and then it’s just like, oh, wow, this is just so nice. Like let me just sit here for a
second and take in these smells. But those are some of
those good memories. One of the, for me one of,
a more memorable mission was in 2007, so in October 19 to 25, October 2007 was
Operation Rock Avalanche up in northeastern
Afghanistan in the Korengal. So, me and another crew,
so first up and second up, we knew the operation was going
to be a pretty big operation. We knew we were expecting
a lot of casualties, so we flew our aircraft,
the first and second up aircraft up to Sadabad. So, we kind of, one of the
things we’ll do, as we see, as we look at the battlefield, as Medical Service Corp
officers, we kind of look at, survey the battlefield and
say, help with the infantry, help with the artillery,
help with the maneuver forces and help see, all right, where
can we best serve in order to help quickly evacuate
those casualties. So, we’d preposition
our aircraft forward in order to try and do that. So, expected a big fight. First couple of days it
was actually really quiet, kind of eerie quiet, and
then on the 23rd of October, there was a firefight,
some folks were overrun. I didn’t know it at time. Obviously I know now for those who have read Sebastian Junger’s
book War, it talks a lot about that, or watched
the movie Restrepo, it talks about these firefights. So, kind of at the time
for me it was, hey, got an urgent nine line, get
out the door, and we took off, and we were there in
just a few minutes. So, at that point, we found out that Sergeant
Rugal had been killed, and then we had specialist
Vandenberg and Sergeant Rice had
been really badly wounded. The things that struck me was
the landscape of Afghanistan. You’re at 7000 feet. It was pine forest but it had
been blown apart by artillery and then also the
illegal foresting that would happen
up in that area. So, as I’m landing the
helicopter, it completed browns out as I’m trying to land
through spokes of trees, which is a little bit different. And we land on the ground,
and I see, you know, I knew Sergeant Rugal,
he was in his body bag, and I saw Vandenberg and
Rice at the top of the hill. And I just remember
being absolutely honored to be a part, to go rescue them. These two guys had been shot,
I mean covered in blood, and they are the strength
and the courage they showed in that moment was something
that absolutely struck me as they walked themselves
down to the helicopter. And I was just like, man,
I am so proud to be a part of a generation of soldiers like
this that carried themselves that way and were able to carry
on even though they lost one of their senior leaders, one of
their teammates, their buddies. And usually in the
medevac community, as most of these guys know,
we’re there for the wounded. We’re there for the living. We’re not, unfortunately
sometimes it comes across as harsh, but we’re
not there for the dead. And many cases you
would leave the dead for the nonmedical
platform to take them away. Having been a ground guy,
having been in infantry, I kind of understand
the situation. These guys were out in
the middle of nowhere and what would be required
to take Sergeant Rugal home, I kind of made the choice,
I was like, you know, this is a no brainer to me. He’s coming on board,
and we took him home. Kind of following into
that, so that kind of started the craziness of
that week, and then on the 25th of October, that
was when Sal Giunta and his platoon were ambushed, and he was later awarded
the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. So, we had actually, we had
flown on another mission out to Torkham gate out in the
eastern Afghanistan right along the Pakistan border. We landed back at [inaudible]
because the mission was done. The air assault was happening. They were retrieving the rest
of the infantry battalion. We kind of thought
things were settled down, and we kind of were taking off
our gear, kind of getting that, all right, hey we survived this
big operation, we’re good to go. And then they came
running out and said, hey we have another mission. It seems like it’s a
pretty bad firefight. So, we jump in, head back up
into the Korengal, and you know, to kind of see that
it’s hard to describe. It’s under night vision goggles. There was actually a
good moon that night, so we actually had pretty good
visibility, but the amount of aircraft that were in
these tight little valleys of, the aviation battalion
doing air assault, retrieving the infantry
soldiers, the Apaches, the AC130, the bombers,
the fighter jets, just completely stacked in this
tight airspace, it gave me, I was really proud of how that
worked as an aviation, you know, kind of aviation
world, how we were able to stack those aircraft,
control those aircraft, be able to maneuver those
aircraft in that tight space. But yet, you know,
for us we ended up doing seven hoist
iterations that night, picking up those
guys, what, you know, having both artillery fire, Apache providing us
gunship support throughout that operation. It was, again, another
challenging issue that I just watched my
medics just completely, and my crew chiefs completely
perform admirably in very, very tough situations. We had kind of made
the decision, we’d put our first medic in. My medic, Sergeant Julio, we
put him on the ground first, knowing that Sergeant
Brendan had been wounded pretty critically. We were on the radio, we
could hear what was going on at the platoon level,
and they had been pleading for medevac to come get them. So, I said, hey let’s
put Sergeant Julio in, and then the second aircraft,
we’ll keep the medic on board, we’ll just hoist him up, and you
can fly back as fast as possible to the surgical site, to
the forward surgical team. So, we did that, and then, and
we ended up doing, like I said, seven other hoist iterations,
bringing up Afghanistan and U.S. soldiers and then
lastly the medic specialist Mendoza was killed
almost immediately at the start of the firefight. So, we brought them back
to Sadabad, and I remember, and this was, you know, kind of
the other side of the med piece. So, obviously the focus was all
on the living, and we emptied out our helicopter, the FST,
took all the folks, took them in and they started treating
them as fast as they could. The docs and the nurses there
were doing an absolutely phenomenal job, and Sadabad was
basically empty, our aircraft on the LZ just sitting there
waiting, and it’s just us, me, my crew chief, and my pilot, and Mendoza in the
back of the helicopter. And so I just kind
of sat with him and just prayed a little bit,
cried a little bit, and it was, to me it was like, there was
part of me that was like, man, I could have been faster. What could I have done? Could I have gone faster? You know. I also understand in
the bigger scheme as I’ve had to process and deal
with these things that you can’t control
everything. There’s a reason and there’s a
purpose for all of those things to happen, but it became a
great powerful motivator for me as I continued to grow in
rank and why we do what we do, why we hustle the way we hustle,
the purpose and the training and the doctrine that we
build to shape this is for that soldier, for those
guys that are going out and risking their lives
to go serve this nation, for me it was part, one of the
greatest honors I ever had was to go serve those
soldiers in that capacity.>>Chas Henry: Nate, it
seems that these sort of operations have perhaps a
higher risk and reward aspect than many other aviation
missions that one might be set on.>>Nathan Forrester:
Yeah, no, that’s right. I think the, you know,
that is one big difference between I think the medical
evacuation crews and pilots and regular aviation branch
pilots is the amount of planning and coordination that’s done
before the mission, you know, to get our crews
ready for, you know, you never know what, right. So, for typical, you know, air assault mission planning
sequence or whatever. It’s very deliberate. You know what time
you’re going to go. You know what time
you’re going to land. You know what time
you’re going to land. You know what time
you’re going to land. You know what time you’re
going to pick back up. You know. So, and there’s
generally a whole team, you know, of aircraft
and crew members. A lot of times for medical
evacuation pilots, you know, you’re your own flight lead. You’re your own air
mission commander. You’re your own pilot in
command, etc., and you’re it. You’re doing all the planning. And so it can be very complex. You’re right.>>Chas Henry: And
making decisions at the very last minute
based on what you’re seeing as you get close, I imagine.>>Nathan Forrester:
That’s right, that’s right.>>Chas Henry: Is there a
particular incident that sticks in your mind when you think of the medevac mission,
in your experience.>>Nathan Forrester: Sure. So, you know, again, you
know, how cool is it, right, to be here listening
to these stories. I mean because there isn’t
any greater profession, right, than knowing that you are,
like this is your whole purpose in life, right, is to pick up
soldiers from the battlefield. You know, there’s no
greater profession. You know, the one thing, the
things that stand out, I think, for me is, you know, just the
number of, you know, my whole, it seems like a lot of our
combat tours are comprised of just hundreds of, 10- or
15-minute small missions, right. And that is, you know,
and half of those happen in the middle of
the night, right. You’re dead asleep, and
then you’re not waking up until you’re ten
minutes into the flight, and you’re like holy
cow, okay, let me, we’re flying here, you know. Where are we at? Where are we going? You know, so that does stand out
to me, but it’s the camaraderie. It’s the team. It’s the, you know, just being a
part of a crew is very special.>>Chas Henry: Where
does dust-off come from? Can someone tell me how
these missions ended up being called dust-off
missions?>>Merl Snyder: Well, things were a little
different in our day. We broadcast everything in
the clear without security. And the call sign
of the unit that, the very first dust-off unit
that Doug was a part of, the 57th, they had
utilized the term dust-off as their call sign. And it just became adapted. Normally in the field every so often you change the call
signs of different units.>>Chas Henry: For
security purposes.>>Merl Snyder: So
they’re not compromised, but here everything was
in the clear, the missions and everything, so it
just kind of stuck, and it became known particularly
to our clients out there that this is dust-off. This is what it means. So, it just kind of stuck,
and it became so well known that I think the army has
never really gotten rid of it. It’s been able to
sustain itself over time.>>Douglas Moore: Let me
add something to that. It all came about in ’63 when Major Lloyd
Spencer was the commander of the dust-off unit
there, the 57th. Prior to his getting involved,
they changed the call sign and the radiofrequency monthly. And the Navy, in those old days,
ran the what we called SOIs, signal operating instructions
for the old guys out there. But anyhow, in those days, there
were no American combat units in country, and there
was very little good communications people. There were little two and three-man advisor teams
scattered all over Vietnam. So, you might go 40
miles in one direction, because we’d overly another
American during my first tour. So, the guys on the
ground recognized that dust-off meant medevac. So, Lloyd Spencer went down
and argued with the Navy guys, and they finally agreed to let
him keep the same call sign so that nobody would have to,
in the heat of battle out there, dig into a water-soaked SOI that
you had stuck in your pocket and try to find out what the
medevac guy’s call sign was. And he also won the
same frequency. We operated on FM
radio 42.5 mic, right.>>Merl Snyder: I
think so, yeah. My memory is gray on that area.>>Douglas Moore: The whole 11,
12 years we were in Vietnam. So, the guys on the ground
always knew how to get in touch with us, and there
was no secrecy. They knew who we were there. The bad guys used to talk
to us on our frequency. During my first tour, they’d
call to say, hey, dust-off, won’t you come and pick
up our patients too? So, it was a convenience factor
for the guys on the ground, and it stuck for the duration
off the war, and fortunately, these guys have carried
on the tradition.>>Chas Henry: That’s
interesting. So, one can understand
the efficiency of it and then also the moral
aspect if you were on the receiving end,
hearing that on the radio. So, let’s start, Nate, how did
you become and officer involved in medical evacuation? Was it something you aspired to? Was it something you
were just directed to?>>Nathan Forrester: No, I
think, so I started out as a, just a regular medical
service platoon leader in an armored battalion in
Fort Riley, Kansas, and lived, I happened to live in one of the
bungalows there in Fort Riley that happens to be on the
airfield, and the only aviation in town was the medevac,
you know, the old 82nd Medevac
company there. And, you know, so I lived
right there on the airfield, and I was a Medical
Service Corp officer. And the medevac commander
lived a couple doors down and started mentoring
me and said, hey, you need to put your packet in. You know, this is where it’s at. This is what you
need to be doing. So, the rest is history though. Yeah, took it up, and you know,
a little funny story though. I was an alternate on the
flight selection panel, but some other Medical
Service Corp guy, you know, not to bash them, but they,
I think he did something, did something bad or did
something wrong and got kicked out and opened up a slot for me. So, I’m forever grateful
for that opportunity. [laughter]>>Chas Henry: Paul,
how about you?>>Paul Roley: Yeah, so I
was interested in aviation, but I was interested in flying
for the state police or the FBI and getting into
law enforcement. So, my whole plan had been I
was going to joined the Army, fly my six years in aviation
and then get out and go fly for the state police
or something like that. Well, little did I know that
they were actually looking for a little bit more hours
than what you get in six years. So, the other piece was
I ended up, you know, when I was at the advance camp,
as your junior year in college, and I came across the
Medical Service Corp, and they had a medevac
helicopter, and I’m like, wait a minute. You guys can fly
helicopters too? So, it just kind of
like blew my mind. I was like this is awesome. This is pretty cool. So, I added Medical
Service Corp as one of my choices and was selected. So, I started again, much like
Nate, I think many of us back when we first came in, the
old system was you went and served time with your
infantry, your armor brothers for a couple of years,
and then you went and got picked up
for flight school. So, I left for flight school, and I left my what we
called the ready force, I was in the ready brigade in
the 101st Airborne Division, came off our black
cycle, our alert cycle for the 18th Airborne Corp,
and so that was in like July of 2001, and then went to
flight school in August 2001 and then September 11, 2001,
happened and was quickly trying to get out of flight school
to go back to my infantry unit because I knew what was coming. Little did I know [inaudible]
months later, you know, what life and God had
for me and his purpose. So, just absolutely,
I have stayed because I love the
people, I love the mission. I’ve absolutely enjoyed
every ounce of it. There’s been, I should
say, there’s been times that you didn’t love it
so much, but the people, the service aspect of what we do
is just absolutely phenomenal, and I wouldn’t change a thing.>>Chas Henry: So, Doug,
when you got involved in this there was
not a long history of medical evacuation
by helicopter. What was it that
attracted you early on?>>Douglas Moore: As the
oldest guy in the group here, some of you probably don’t
remember when ROTC was mandatory in college, if you went
to a land grant college, and I was a distinguished
military graduate, whatever that meant, in
ROTC, at the same time that President Eisenhower was
President, and he was trying to do away with the so-called
military industrial complex that some of the older
guys can remember, was downsizing the
military considerably. But as a distinguished
military graduate in ROTC, I was guaranteed a regular
Army commission, and I wanted to be an infantry officer first, an armor officer
second, artillery third. And all of those branches were
filled by academy graduates. And I went to a little
school in Arkansas. So, they offered me
two opportunities. One was quarter master and
one was Medical Service Corp. And I said, what the heck
does Medical Service Corp do? And they said, well, you
know, they do this, do this, and they’ve also got aviation. I said, that’s what
I want to do. I want to fly airplanes. So, that’s how I wound up
in the Medical Service Corp and wouldn’t change a thing.>>Chas Henry: And very
early on after getting into the Medical Service
Corp went to flight training?>>Douglas Moore: Yeah, um-hum.>>Chas Henry: Yeah.>>Douglas Moore: And then
Vietnam, I went to Vietnam in ’64, so a long time ago.>>Chas Henry: Wow. What about you, Merl? What drew you do it?>>Merl Snyder: I had
kind of an unusual path. Back in the mid ’60s, and I’d
gone through a family tragedy, and I’m not in college,
and I’m reclassified 1A. And I talked to a recruiter
and he said, what kind of kind of skills do you have? And I said, well, I mostly
majored in beer and women. He said, you need to be
an aviator [inaudible]. So, anyhow–>>Chas Henry: That
was too easy. [laughter]>>Merl Snyder: So, I took a
little test and surprised myself and passed it and went over to
get a class one flight physical, and of course they were
wavering heart murmurs and color blindness and
whatever else, you know, because there was a seat
waiting for you in Vietnam. Okay. So, anyhow, passed the
class one flight physical and went off to become, training to become a warrant
officer aviator. So, I thought becoming a warrant
officer aviator was probably better service than carrying
a rifle on the ground. That was my motivation
to go to flight school. I had not flown before. The first time I ever flew
in an airplane I think was when I flew my first
helicopter mission as a trainee. Maybe I’d flown a
commercial air– yeah, they took me off to
basic training in a DC3 once, I think, so I’ve been flying. So anyhow, I found out,
I kind of found my niche. I was actually fairly
decent at that. And after a while I was,
I was going to be one of the top graduates in my
little class there, you know. We put about 190 of us out every
two weeks going to Vietnam, okay, and then this is in 1967. And I was going to be an
honor graduate [inaudible], damn this sounds pretty good. They said, would you like to go to some additional training
before you went to Vietnam, because everyone in my class
except one went to Vietnam, and he was a sole surviving son,
and he went to Germany, I think. So, anyhow, I had
a chance to sign up to become a Huey Cobra pilot,
which was brand new, gunship, chinook school, flying
crane CH54, these young guys never
heard of probably, and the last option there was
to become a medevac pilot. And in doing that,
they deferred you. They send you off
to school from, I think for us warrants
it was like a six or eight weeks of training. I was damn near ready
for medical school when I got rid of that. So, I thought, this is kind
of what I’m designed to do. So, that was what
got me involved in doing the medevac mission. Of course, then when, like these
other gentleman have described, when you do that,
your mindset changes. When you all of a sudden get
there and you said, geez, I’m doing something
that’s very worthwhile and something that’s
very necessary. It’s kind of like
catching the flu. It kind of becomes
part of it, you know. How can I do this and
how can I be better at it and how can I, you
know, improve. Because I got to spend time
with the greatest generation of my time, and of course, I
learned from them, and I wanted to be as good as them,
and I wanted to be, I wanted to do the job well. Of course, I did
well, got promoted to chief warrant
officer when I was in, CW2 when I was in Vietnam. Came back from Vietnam,
and I was prodded to apply for a commission. And I thought, no, I’m
just doing my payback time for having gone to flight
school and getting to do this. And I come back to Hunter Army
Airfield where someone was, and at the time we
were training pilots so fast we couldn’t train
them while at Rucker. We trained the last
half of their training at Hunter Army Airfield. So, I was, they made
me an instructor pilot, and I’m flying my students,
one of which was an MSC that we all knew very well. It was one of my students. Anyhow, my flight commander came
in and said, hey, Mr. Snyder, would you like to be a
commissioned officer? And I said, a lieutenant,
I said, no, I don’t really like lieutenants very much, I
don’t think I want to be one, something crass like that. And so, I looked at
the requirement there, and I had about 21
months of time to spend as a chief warrant officer,
and I knew I was going to Vietnam again anyhow. Or I had 24 months if
I took the commission, and the commission was
to first lieutenant. And I thought, well,
in those days if you hadn’t done something
dastardly you’d make captain in 12 months, as in grade
is a first lieutenant. So, my motivation was
to take the commission, go back to Vietnam as a captain. Captains and W2’s did
about the same thing there. They became aircraft
commanders and, you know, did that mission over again. So, that was a motivation for
taking the commission, and then, like I think I’ve
told Karen earlier, you have a carrot
and stick, you know. If you stick around
and you do well and you get offered more things,
and going back to Vietnam for my second tour, and
they call and said, hey, the unit you were going to go
to is downsizing and moving to Fodor [phonetic], and
we’re going to send you there. So, I’m going to, let’s see,
go to Vietnam or California. I thought this Army is okay. So, I took the California trip,
and I just kind of never got around to getting out
for the next 30 years. So, that’s a long story
about how I ended up flying and how I ended up
as a medevac pilot.>>Chas Henry: So,
it’s interesting, you mentioned the medical
portion, the introduction to medical care that
you received as part of your training. Has that, has that remained
consistent over the years? Doug, did you at your time or–>>Douglas Moore: We had
a little two-week course.>>Chas Henry: And how about
Paul and Nate these days?>>Nathan Forrester:
Yeah, I think, I mean currently we send
our Medical Service Corp, medevac officers, a lot of our
chief warrant officer pilots to probably a similar
aeromedical evacuation doctrine course. You know. So, that’s
really the, you know, besides your basic course
that officers get coming in as a Medical Service
Corp officer, you know, and then just the on-the-job
mentorship and training and, you know, whether
it’s from your medics or from your flight surgeons and
nurses and docs and so forth, but that’s really the
only formalized additional medical training.>>Paul Roley: [Inaudible]
it’s like studying for the expert [inaudible]
medical badge, and you’re sitting there,
and I’m giving an IV to one of my medics, and
I completely blow through her vein
[inaudible] but, you know, everything is just, I
was just like all right, I should stop doing this. I’ll fly the helicopter. You fix everyone in the back,
and we’ll call it good, so.>>Merl Snyder: Our goal was
not to do the hands-on training, although we did quite
a bit of that. It’s kind of the, you
know, you’re going to be an aircraft commander, and
you’re in charge of what goes on in that aircraft,
and they used to say about half your medics graduate in the bottom half
of their class. And so, the idea is to sort of
go back to the basics of airways and bleeding and what have you and to comment a medic that’s
back there and, you know, our medics were just incredible. I mentioned the guy,
Gordy Gastin, who had, some of these guys
wouldn’t even go home. They’d fly their
year tour and extend. Gordy had been in
an infantry unit and earned a Silver Star there
as a ground medic and now came over to the dust-off people and stayed multiple
tours, even after I left. So, it was like we had some
people that had dedication that you can’t describe. These were people that were
just above and beyond the norm of what humans do, you
know, it was so incredible.>>Chas Henry: So, it strikes
me that an understanding of what different casualties
might be going through and need is something
that’s useful to a pilot, understanding, you
know, when you get in, how quickly do you
need to get out. But talk about who is on a
team and who is doing what in a medevac operation when you
gentleman served and these days. Doug, do you want to–>>Douglas Moore: I’m not
sure what you’re saying. Because the crew was two
pilots up front, obviously. It had a medic and a
crew chief in the back. We had, and both times I was
there, just outstanding medics, just incredibly brave
and talented young men. They would talk the crew chief into helping them
with certain things. You know, they could
hold an IV bag. Even some of my crew
chiefs could start and IV. But we didn’t, you didn’t do
much on the helicopter care because most of our
missions were so short. My second tour with
the 25th Division, the longest mission would
be 20 minutes from takeoff, to get the patient in and get
them back to the hospital. My first tour, it was
a little bit different. We had some missions that
were 100 miles one way, and so the medics had to
do a little bit more there, but it was just basically
keeping an airway open, getting an IV started, and
giving a little morphine if they were in tremendous pain. So, there was not a lot of on
the aircraft care in my day.>>Chas Henry: Based on a
story we heard earlier too, it’s possible the crew chief
might be returning fire, right, with a machine gun on board
the helicopter [inaudible].>>Douglas Moore: No,
we didn’t have guns.>>Chas Henry: No, no?>>[Inaudible] small arms>>Chas Henry: A
rifle or a pistol?>>Merl Snyder: No
[inaudible] weapons [inaudible].>>Chas Henry: Wow, just
to try to keep the enemy at bay long enough to– [ Inaudible Comments ]>>Paul Roley: [inaudible]
and patient back on board.>>Sunny Jane Morton:
I was always concerned and told my guys do not fire
because I can’t imagine coming out of an LZ and having my
guys firing their weapon and hit one of our guys. So, I told my guys every time, do not fire a weapon
unless we get shot down. Otherwise, leave your weapon
slung on the back of your seat.>>Chas Henry: So, obviously
there have been evolutions going on with regard to the aviation
and the medical portion of these sorts of operations. Nate, in the time that
you’ve been in the Army, what changes have you seen?>>Nathan Forrester:
So, yeah, so, you know, a part of the transformation
that we’ve seen, you know, it’s two fold. You know, one, there’s
an aviation piece. So, you know, back in
2003, 2004, 2005 timeline, timeframe is, you know, what we
call the Aviation Restructuring Initiative, you know, or ARI. That’s really when
the, you know, the single air ambulance
companies or the number air ambulance
companies transformed and they became the
Charlie companies inside of the general support
aviation battalions. So, that was a major,
a major shift for us. You know, still a very, still very much a medical
function still owned by, you know, the Army surgeon,
you know, as far as doctrinally and Congressionally
mandated, you know. So, that was one major
shift, and the other shift or transition that I’ve seen
really happened around the 2010 to 2013 timeframe,
and it’s ongoing. It has to do with our, the
type of care that we provide in the back of the aircraft. You know, so during that time it
was noted, you know, so we were, you know, in Afghanistan,
a lot longer legs, a lot more requirements for our
medics to be able to provide, you know, a little
bit longer care. You know, so that’s when, you
know, the, you know, Congress, joint staffs, and the
secretary of defense, you know, mandated that our medics
start their transition to be paramedics, you
know, really, and they are, no kidding, probably
the best, you know, and skilled providers
currently today. Even I’d, you know,
even heads and shoulders above even our commercial
paramedic force right now. So, really the, you know, in my
time, kind of that, you know, the aviation piece as far
as the mission command, who’s sustaining you, who’s
providing you intelligence, who’s providing you gas and food
and so forth, and then our medic to paramedic transition
is really the two major–>>Chas Henry: We can move
into those helicopters. Do the number of airframes used
for medevacs remain constant or did they reduce the
number of helicopters that are devoted to
medevac missions.>>Nathan Forrester: Yeah,
I mean that’s gone up and down a couple times over
the last, you know, 15, 20 years or so, you know, as far as
what’s Congressionally mandated, you know, as far as the number of medevac companies
have shifted. It’s risen and fallen over the
years, but for the most part, it’s been pretty steady. You know, there’s a lot of
research, a lot of studies out there that, you
know, define, you know, Army requirements define kind
of what the requirements are to be able to support, you
know, whether it’s the wars that we’ve seen in southwest
Asia to what, you know, the near peer threats in
China and Russia, you know. And we don’t have enough right
now, you know, for that type of threat, but it’s
been pretty steady.>>Chas Henry: Yeah,
so it’s interesting that Doug mentioned the,
you know, in Vietnam early on when troops are far spread, you’re travelling greater
distances to get casualties, but then as the war
scaled up, you were able to be staged fairly close and
have these 20-minute runs. In Afghanistan these days, what
would you say is an average run from takeoff to return
to a medical facility on a medevac operation?>>Paul Roley: So, and again, I think it depends upon
the year you were there, because the situations change. There was forces all over the
place, and then it’s reduced, expanded, reduced, etc. So,
Iraq was much like we talked about the close 15-minute run. You were at a hospital
in 15 minutes or less. There were hospitals
everywhere, which was awesome. So, you didn’t have that. Then we went, so I did
Iraq first, and then went to Afghanistan, and
all of a sudden, you’re this one medevac company
covering this entire country. You have 15 helicopters,
and you realize, oh my gosh, we don’t have enough helicopters
to really have the resources and the people, and
you were flying an hour to get back to a hospital. And so what we started
doing, we had some really, we had a great phenomenal, we
had a phenomenal flight surgeon and flight PA, who kind of
saw this kind of happening, learned some lessons
from the folks before us, and we started teaching
our medics narcotic therapy so they could be able
to push narcotics, underneath the license of the
doctor, of the flight surgeon, to be able to do that. And that–>>Chas Henry: To
deal with pain, the patient’s pain in transit.>>Paul Roley: Absolutely. And really that you
got to do intubation. You’re talking about long-term,
high altitude in some cases, exposure and then also
long-term care through it, while you’re flying an aircraft. So, that for me was like the big
experience, like oh man, okay, this is different now from Iraq. This is different now. There needs to be a
change, and we just kind of saw the evolution, and
it’s been phenomenal to watch, to now as the battalion
commander with my, we had the very first medevac
company that had 100 percent of all our medics were
flight paramedics. So, they’d all been trained and
certified, and it was phenomenal to watch them in Afghanistan
just absolutely crush it. There was nothing they
couldn’t handle, but again, you’re looking at today’s
world about, long would be about 30 minutes, but most
of it’s in that 20 minutes, because everything
is kind of compacted. But at the height, in
that ’07 through 2009, where you didn’t have
a lot of resources, but you had a whole
lot of ground forces, you would see probably 30
to 45-minute flight with up to an hour in some
really extreme cases.>>Chas Henry: So,
represented on this panel, experience behind
the controls of a lot of different sorts
of helicopters. What was your favorite
helicopter to fly for medevac operations and why?>>Merl Snyder: Well, my favorite one will
always be the Huey, I guess. I got a ton of hours in it. I served as an instructor pilot
in the aircraft, and I flew it as an instrument examiner. I flew the Blackhawk, but
it was a very limited time, just a few hundred hours. I was a battalion commander, and as you’re a little more
senior, you just fly less. You know, you have to fly
more gray steel deaths than I did aircraft
at that time, and so, the Huey is the one that I have
almost all my experience with. And I did love flying
the Blackhawk, but it just wasn’t
one that I had that much time to
really devote to.>>Chas Henry: So, besides
your expertise with it and how comfortable you were, what made it a particularly
good medevac helicopter?>>Merl Snyder: Well, it had
its shortcomings, of course. There was a single
engine versus dual engine, and it did not have
redundant flight systems and what have you. But it was just one
that I felt like, I felt so comfortable with. Like I could fly it
anywhere and anyplace. I think Nate talked earlier
about frequently going off as a single pilot in command
without a mission commander. I mean I think our
folks pioneered flying at night in Vietnam. We pioneered flying– I
wasn’t instrument rated, yet I got like 50 hours of
instrument time in Vietnam. Well, I mean, that’s
kind of scary.>>Chas Henry: So, this is
not night vision goggles, you’re just flying
by instrument?>>Merl Snyder: Yeah. I mean–>>Chas Henry: Self-taught.>>Merl Snyder: Well,
if you’re, yeah, well, I mean we had a tactical thing
enough to maybe get the aircraft from going upside
down, you know. But that was about it, but
we learned because we did it, and because we had mission
necessity to get from one place to another, so we flew. And we got pretty good at it. And I thought, when I go
back to Vietnam next time, I want to be a better
instrument pilot than I was, at least hopefully
get some training. That’s what inspired me to go through the instrument
flight examiner course, because that was the
graduate education of instrument flying for me. And so, it was something
that I found very necessary, that we sort of were
pioneers without training. And our medics at the time,
you’re talking about the medics, they had no training other than just the basic training
they went through as a flight, there was no flight medic
training courses or anything. And you know, they learned
on the job, and they learned, and of course they
applied what they did learn in their basic training, but
it was, it was pretty limited in the first few weeks of
training to become a medic.>>Chas Henry: Doug, you’ve been in probably more
airframes than anybody else. What did you like in a
particular helicopter? What makes a good
medevac helicopter?>>Douglas Moore: My
favorite among all of them, and I flew H19s and a
little bit of time in H34s, the old Sikorski
reciprocal engine jobs. But when I first
went to Vietnam, we had the B model Huey. It was a smaller version of
what most of you guys have seen. It would only carry three
liters across the aircraft, whereas the H model that we had
later on had a bigger engine, and you could carry six litters. But the B model Huey, the
pilot sat almost on the floor. Your feet were way out
here in front of you, and your backside
was way down here. But you could, you could hold
120 knots, and what Merl and I, we used to be wild west
cowboys, you’d fly over the LZ, over the landing
zone about 500 feet, and the guy on the
ground would tell you which way the bad guys were
shooting from, and you’d fly over the LZ at 1200 feet,
drop the collective lever on the floor, which took the
pitch off the rotor blades, and we’d dump it over into
about 2000 feet a minute rate of descent and try
and not do more than a 180-degree
turn before landing. And that old B model, you can
hold 100 knots until you were from here to the other
end of the wall there, and all of a sudden you’d
pop the stick back and pop it and pull in some collective, and it would come to
a screeching halt. The H models that we had
later on were larger, and these guys have
problems with Blackhawks too. Once you start trying
to slow it down, it doesn’t want to slow down. It wants to just keep
going, floating we call it. With the old B model Huey, all
you had to do was keep it right to 100 knots throttle
to the ground and pop the stick
and you would stop. And I see some of the old guys
back there remember flying those things too.>>Chas Henry: Paul,
how about you?>>Paul Roley: I
love the Blackhawk. It has saved my butt many times. But the double redundancy
and all those things, but my favorite, by far,
was the Alpha model, we call it the Frankenhawk. So, it was, in Afghanistan
we stripped out all the medical interior
because we needed to be able to fly in that high
hot altitude. And so, we stripped those out, and then we took the LIMA
engines, put the LIMA, UACC LIMA model engines into it, but we kept the Alpha
transmission, and it was like a Corvette. I could outfly, I was outflying
Chinooks, which was fun to do, because they would always
think you’re just a Blackhawk, they can outfly you. And so, you know, we would
routinely leave our escort aircraft behind because I had
a patient who needed to get to the hospital, and I could
just pull in whatever I needed, and it was just, it was
lightning fast, and I loved it.>>Chas Henry: And this was sort
of and ad hoc interim solution–>>Paul Roley: It was like,
hey, Alpha is having problems. We haven’t quite gotten,
the LIMA are coming, we got the mikes coming
in the future sometime, and so they were
like, hey let’s, what if we throw some new
engines in this thing. We called it a Frankenhawk
because it was literally, hey, let’s just make up some
limits and just kind of– we literally had a
sticky note that was like our transmission limit
type stuff that we had on it to keep us from breaking rules. But, yeah. It was good.>>Chas Henry: Nate, a
favorite and then what, if you were to design an
ideal medevac helicopter, what capabilities does
it absolutely need?>>Nathan Forrester: Yeah, some
very similar background as Paul as far as just experiencing
the comfortability and the, you know, the number of times that the aircraft
saved your butt. But, Doug was talking, and I just realized why
there was a certain task in flight school
that we had to learn, and it was called
an autorotation with a turn, you know. Just because, you know, it sounds like that’s exactly
what he was describing there. But, you know, to be honest,
the perfect medevac aircraft, you know, has got to have the
functionality and the ability to carry, you know,
the patients, you know. If we could, you know,
we’d use a Chinook, right, because you could put, you
know, 30 plus litter patients or whatever inside of the
Chinook, but it’s just so dagone big, you
know, you can’t get into those confined spaces. So, you know, I think the
aircraft of the future, or the future vertical
lift platforms that are being developed now,
even as we speak, you know, test flown and researched, and
developed, you know it’s all about speed, you know,
and your distance. You know, we’re talking here
about cruising, you know, 120 knots or 140 knots, you
know, maybe in the Frankenhawks or faster, but you know, now we’re talking,
you know, 240 knots. You know, your ability to get
to that next level of care and your coverage, your
ability to cover, you know, and area of operation,
just expands, you know, exponentially. You know, so it’s all
about now then, you know, a nice delicate balance
between size, speed, capacity. So, there’s a lot of
factors out there.>>Chas Henry: So, altitude,
maneuverability, speed, being able to carry the fuel
for the distance you’re going to cover, that’s
all very complex. Something that we
haven’t really talked about except tangentially
is the fact that because people have been
wounded, this is likely an area where there’s a concentration
of the enemy, and an aircraft, any aircraft coming
in becomes a target. And the seriousness
of this, I think, is perhaps best described, Doug, you experienced the
personal experience, being shot as you flew. Can you tell us just
briefly about that?>>Douglas Moore: I was picking
up eight badly wounded patients from a battalion of the
25th Division of the 2nd and the 12th battalion, had
a two-company task force that got surrounded just north
of Cu Chi about 30 miles, and they were in danger of being
overrun at 4:00 in the morning. I had flown three missions
for them earlier that day and just got the crap shot
out of me during two of them. But we landed at
4:00 in the morning, and I called the battalion
commander, who was flying in his little CNC
ship overhead us, and they were dropping flares. So, it was just like daylight. So, I asked him to shut down
the flares while I landed, and he said, I won’t do that because I’m afraid
the units will get overrun if we turn the lights out
and shut down the flares. So, I was a brash young major
on my second tour in Vietnam, so I said, it won’t do any good
for me to get shot down trying to land or trying to
take off, so let me try to make a deal with you. Instead, if you’ll turn off the
flares long enough for me to get on the ground blacked out, then
I’ll turn on my rotating beacon when I hit the ground, and you
can start dropping the flares again until I get
ready to come out. So, he finally reluctantly
agreed. So, we turned off all the
lights on the helicopter and started down, and when I got
down to the bottom and turned on my landing light, I saw
about a clearing in the jungle about 200 yards until the
[inaudible] and what looked like an old logging road
across this clearing. And then we had to see
wounded guys laying all along on both sides of the road,
so I knew it was going to take forever to load. So, I picked a spot about
halfway in between the front and lead patient and kicked the
tail of the helicopter around, and would you believe 20 years
later I was in a meeting there in the Pentagon and
General Joe Rigby came up and introduced himself. He was the company
commander on this task force, and when I kicked the
tail of the helicopter around in the dark, he stood up. He was laying alongside
the road too, and he said bullets were
going right over his head, but he thought he
needed to thank us for coming in, so he stood up. And when I kicked
the tail around, he said the tail rotor passed
right in front of his face. And he said he could
still feel the buzz of the rotor blades
as they went past. But anyhow, we hit the
ground, and I reached up and turned my rotating beacon on to tell the battalion
commander we were on the ground, and almost immediately
flares started popping and light just like daylight. And it took us forever
to get loaded to get these eight guys
loaded because they were over this long stretch
along this road, and the bad guys found us when
the flares started up again, and we started getting hits
in the back of the tail boom and back in the rear
end of the helicopter and couldn’t do anything
about it because we were on the ground. And we weren’t loaded. So, we finally got
everybody on board, and I called the
battalion commander and ask if he could shut down the
flares while I took off, and he said negative. The unit right behind
you is under heavy attack and about to get overrun. So, we lift up, and I try
to stay as low as I could across this clearing, trying to
get as much airspeed as I could, and when I got close to the
trees on the other side, I came up like this and just
sheets of tracers start coming up underneath the helicopter,
and one came up to my left knee and hit the collective
lever and ricocheted off and split my thumb open, and
that hurt like a son of gun. I reached back and grabbed
the collective again, and then I heard this awful
scream right behind me. And the medic told me one
of the patients had been hit in the back, it hit
him in the spine and killed him, unfortunately. And then something hit me, and
my head flew back like this and hit the back of the seat
back here, and it hit so hard until my copilot told me I threw
the stick out of his hands too. And I jammed the right pedal
all the way to the floor and I pulled the collective
all the way up to the top. And I remember looking
back down, and in the darkness
I could see we were in a descending right turn
about 15 feet off the ground, so I got the stick,
got centered, and pulled the collective
and started climbing again and got the pedal centered and
told my copilot I had been hit. And my copilot was
a W1 like Merl was, a young guy named Steve Penn–>>That’s my high
school classmate.>>Douglas Moore:
And Steve came back with a typical Fort
Rucker answer. Roger sir, I have the aircraft. [laughter] So, I
was sitting there, and I called the
lieutenant commander and told him we had taken
heavy fire about 200 meters to the west of where we
had been on the ground, and he acknowledged it, and said
we’ll put artillery in there as soon as you guys
get clear of the area. And I knew something
else was wrong with me, but I didn’t know what. I knew I’d been hit someplace,
but I didn’t know where. And all of a sudden, I
felt something warm running down the left side of my face. And for some reason I closed
my left eye like this, and I could see the
instrument panel clearly. But then when I switched
and closed my right eye, I couldn’t see anything,
just a dull glow of light. So, I thought I’d
lost my left eye. And what happened, a bullet came
through the windshield down here where it bolts into the frame,
it my flight helmet right here between my eyes, right
where the little thing that runs the sun visor up
and down, and it penetrated and followed the curvature
of the helmet and came back out back here behind my ear. And when it came through there,
the windshield and the frame, it brought a handful of
metal and plexiglass. It hit the left side of my
face, and I had a piece of metal about that long sticking in
the left side of this eye. And my left eye was filled
with metal and plexiglass, and it chipped out of
place up here on my head and a little place
back here on the back. I was in the hospital
for five days and went back to flying again. You know, the good Lord was
looking after me that night.>>Chas Henry: And example,
though, of the fact that, you know, this risk for war,
it’s, you know, it’s a matter of piloting, getting in
to where the patient needs to be picked up, getting them
on, hopefully treating them in flight to get
them back safely, and dealing with the bad guys. The enemy always has a
vote, and in this case, there are people aiming
things at aircraft. So, I imagine in
Vietnam you were dealing with small arms fire
with maybe a rocket, a shoulder-fired missile.>>Douglas Moore: We got hit
with an RPG in the [inaudible].>>Chas Henry: RPG. So, these days, what
are the, you know, there have been advances
in antiaircraft weaponry. What are the menaces
that you all face when you fly these days?>>Paul Roley: Same stuff.>>Nathan Forrester: Yeah,
it’s the same stuff, and now, I mean it’s, you know,
it’s now, it’s weather. It’s obstacles. You know, it’s power management. So, it’s still just basic
palleted stuff, but then now, you know, you’re talking
about, you know, radar threat. You know, lasered
threats, and that’s–>>Chas Henry: Greater precision
in some of these weapons that are trying to shoot
down aircraft, right.>>Paul Roley: Yeah, but
for Afghanistan and Iraq, for those that, those fights,
it was the same small arms and the same sort of threats
that these guys faced, and it was much the techniques
and things that they learned and taught, and the things that
we went through flight school, was learned through
their actions, which, you know when we were flying
at in Iraq, going to Iraq, we were flying at 50 feet. You know, you’re worried about
the surface-to-air threat. You’re worried about those
things, and so you’d be able to feed that through
flying low level. Especially in an open desert
terrain where they can see you and hear you from
a long ways off. Afghanistan kind of changed,
you know, some of those things. We started seeing less and less
of the surface-to-air threat, started doing more and more
with small arms fire, RPGs, and then dishcas and
things like that. So, what do you do? You put some altitude between
yourself and the enemy threat. Obviously for medevac, it
requires that you have to get to the ground, so
therefore you have to end up flying that aspect. But it was much the
same flight techniques that the pilot’s skill and the
doctrinal things that you learn and we teach our crews on how to
maneuver and fly that helicopter in order to best
position yourself to safely execute the
evacuation of those wounded. [ Inaudible Comment ]>>Merl Snyder: Oh, no,
I, we were fortunate. We controlled the skies. We didn’t have other aircraft
that we had to worry about. We did have some larger
caliber weapons and 50 calibers that we were shot occasionally
and yeah, but not a lot of antiaircraft stuff
during our time here. But possibly they
might have them in more modern battlefields. We were fortunate
in that regard.>>Chas Henry: Well, I know
that we have some people in the audience who
come to this topic from a variety of experiences. Anybody been on the
receiving end, on the consumer end
of a medevac? Okay, I don’t see anybody–>>Merl Snyder: There’s
one back there.>>Chas Henry: Ah. And anyone been on
the giving end, the providing end
of medevac duty. We have folk here. So, I’m thinking maybe
there are some questions from the audience. Carrie has a microphone, and
so if you have a question about anything we’ve talked
about or not talked about so far in this panel, just
raise your hand and Carrie will get
the microphone to you. We may have covered
everything sufficiently. Never had that happen
on a panel. And if you just identify
yourself and sort of how you come to the topic.>>Yeah, Michael
Doloich [phonetic]. I’m a historian with the
Vietnam [inaudible] Vietnam War Commemoration. To both you, Doug, and
thank you for the talk, and Dr. Donald Hall
says his best. So, beyond that, so I have
heard about a maneuver perfected or at least performed in
Vietnam, I believe by Pat Brady, I may be misspeaking,
where he more or less contour flew a mountain. I think it was called
the Brady maneuver. Could you describe
this maneuver? Can you describe its importance? I mean is it still taught today? You know, is it an evolution, a
revolution, that kind of thing. I always want to
know more about it>>Douglas Moore: Pat Brady
was my roommate my first tour, and there is one
crazy individual. Tremendously courageous guy
like my buddy Merl Snyder here. But the first thing he
did during our first tour, one of the things that
we had difficulty getting into the special forces
camps, because they owned just that little area that, you know,
maybe as big as this room here. Everything outside
belongs to bad guys. So, getting down to find
them when it was foggy or raining real hard, that’s
sort of like, Pat got them to develop a technique where they’d shoot a
mortar round straight up, and then we would follow
the mortar round the flare from a mortar round. We would circle it like this and
come down so we could stay kind of within the perimeter
of the mortar flare and finally land inside this
place rather than trying to come in and get shot down. When he went back on his second
tour, he was in the mountains, and what he did, where he won
his Medal of Honor, and after, he was on top of a mountain,
and nobody could get to him. So this crazy joker puts
the helicopter sideways against the rocks
and starts hovering up the side of the mountain. And he hovered right
over some bad guys in two or three locations, but
they didn’t shoot him down. They said, what’s this crazy
guy doing coming up the side of the mountain in a helicopter? And he kept zig-zagging back
and forth with the crew chief and medic hanging out
to keep his rotor blades out of the trees, until he went
up a couple thousand, 2500 feet, and finally got on
top of the mountain and got the wounded
and got the out. And that’s how he got
the Medal of Honor.>>Merl Snyder: [inaudible]
General Brady, his wife of 50 plus years
just passed away this week. I don’t know if you were
aware of that or not, but he’s truly one
of our founders and heroes that we all admire.>>Douglas Moore: Yeah.>>Chas Henry: Thanks–>>Merl Snyder: That’s not to take anything away
from this guy here. We had dozens of guys like this that just did tremendously
courageous things.>>Chas Henry: One
thing that I think a lot of Americans maybe don’t
appreciate is how the military, unlike many other
institutions in the country and maybe even the world
is a learning organization, and the military is very big on
lessons learned, taking down, reviewing, analyzing
lessons learned and then applying them
to future doctrine. And even though I was a marine, I know that the Army is
doctrine, doctrine oriented and doctrine rules in the Army. And so I think a lot of
the things we’ve discussed, that occurred in Vietnam, you
talk about the medics learning and then, and sharing
that expertise has led to the evolution of the care
that a service member wounded and picked up today receives. Is there a particular example
of something that you saw happen that other people
picked up either the part of a crew member or
a medic on board? I know these things
happen glacially over time, but was there one
thing that, you know, someone you were flying with
or a medic you saw them do, and it just struck you, wow,
that’s a really great idea?>>Nathan Forrester:
Well, let’s see. I think the design, I
would say the design of the interior of our aircraft. You know, it’s probably, there are some big-time
ingenuity, you know. Paul was talking
anybody the, you know, the Alpha model Blackhawk, just
a barebones, you know, interior, but the way that our medics
and our crew members would set up the interior of the aircraft,
you know, the way that, you know, from cargo
straps were, you know, x’d across the top cabin of
the interior of the cabin of the aircraft, you know,
which allowed you to, you know, slide your spine board in,
to hang your medical kit on. You know, I think
some of that type of stuff was probably
caught on and, you know, and codified into, you know,
standard operating procedures for those that are serving
in theater, you know.>>Got a question. [ Inaudible Comment ]>>Yeah, quick question that
might follow on your question or your answer a few seconds
ago is the golden hour and the impact of the
golden hour on your mission and the ability to
accomplish it. You probably should explain
what the golden hour is and then go from there.>>Chas Henry: And is it an
hour in medevac operations or is it a shorter
period of time?>>Nathan Forrester: Yeah. So, I think the, you know
the basic understanding of the golden hour is the
time in which, you know, a mission is received,
you know, by the medical, or the medical evacuation
crew, to the point in which that casualty is
picked up and delivered to the next higher level are. That’s the basic
rudimentary, you know, thought or design of the golden hour. I mean it’s evolved, I
mean it’s almost slang now, you know, the golden hour. You know, what does that
really mean, you know, in places like Afghanistan or
places where you had, you know, long durations, you know, I mean are you able
to meet the goal now? A lot of times no, but you know,
so the way that we’re thinking, the way that the Army is
evolving is, you know, hey, does golden hour mean that
you’ve got the right level of care with the patient? You know, it could be
this paramedic who’s on board with it perhaps. You know, it could be the en
route critical care nurse who’s flying along with you. But, you know, so that even
that term, you know, and it, you know, I think [inaudible]
and along that 2012, ’13 timeframe, you know,
mandated the golden hour in theater, and so that drove a
lot more aircraft into theater, to ensure hat we have, you know, along the major supply
routes covered. So, that brought a lot more
capability [inaudible].>>Chas Henry: Doug?>>Douglas Moore: I’m glad
you asked that question, because that was
something I was hoping to get clarified here today for an old guy who’s
been out for 30 years. But I went to Vietnam at a
special time in ’64 right after major Tug Kelly, commander
of the 57th got killed, and the U.S. Army Vietnam folks
there at the time were trying to do away with dust-off. There were so few Hueys in the
country at the time they wanted to take them over and just
let any aviation unit, any helicopter unit
pick up casualties, just like the Marines do. When I got there, Kelly
had just been killed. But there was still a move to make us use temporary Red
Crosses on the windshields of the aircraft so they could
be used [inaudible] supply or for troop lift otherwise. And we fought hard against that. We used Kelly’s example, and
basically as I said earlier, guys like Merl and I
became law west cowboys. The launch authority in
our day was the pilot. A mission came in. The pilot climbed in the
airplane in my unit and in his. Two minutes was the desired
time to get off the ground, and then you worked it out with
a guy on the ground out there, who if he was willing
to stand up and load the patients,
we went in. And that’s just the
way we operated. And we lost a lot of people. We lost 214 pilots and
crewman during the Vietnam War, 3.3 times higher rate of loss
than the rest of Army aviation. But I understood
during the Afghani War, and I know Pat Brady has written
about this several times, about the so-called golden hour where there was a
release authority software in the nonmedical chain. They’d have go through, and it
got to a point, I understand, where sometimes it
took almost two hours to get an aircraft airborne
by the time it had gone through the nonmedical chains
to let the aircraft go, get the chase ship, get the
gun ships and all this stuff. Merl and I went alone. We didn’t wait on chase
ships or gunships. You know what, you wonder
if they had operated on those days I’m talking
about, and I’m not trying to be critical, I’m just
telling you what I know. I’m not trying to be
critical, but if they had flown like we did and worked with
the guys on the ground, would they have lost anymore
aircraft by doing it that way and certainly would
save all the maintenance if you’ve got a chase ship and
a couple of gun ships going with you every time
you go anywhere. And I don’t, I just can’t
imagine based on our experience, I can’t imagine having a guy
laying out there on the ground at a courtyard or
Afghani village someplace with bullet holes in him or
fragment holes all over his body and waiting on some
damn nonmedical guy to release the airplane. I just, I mean that just grates
against everything I stand for. And I just wonder how
old cowboys like Merl and I would operate in
that kind of environment. And, you know, and maybe
I’ve overstated it based on what I’ve heard from a
few guys and from Pat Brady, but maybe these guys could
explain what that was all about.>>Paul Roley: I think it was, I
mean that would outlier compared to the norm, quite honestly.>>Douglas Moore: Yep.>>Paul Roley: Those are extreme
circumstances that happened. So, you had two levels
of authority, so you had the medical
approval authority, because we had limited
aviation assets to go fly, so we had plenty of ground
assets and things like that that could move folks. So, you had a medical
approval side that said, hey, this is a valid medical mission,
and you also got to understand, many of our missions were also for the Afghan civilian
population. And we had to deal
with that as well. It was like prioritizing U.S.
soldier versus Afghan civilians, Afghan soldiers, etc.
So, some of the delays, the extreme delays, maybe so
on that than a U.S. soldier, it would not have happened for U.S. soldiers
unless there was a very, very random, very rare occasion. So, then you had the
aviation mission approval. So, medical approval and aviation risk mission
approval based upon the level of risk and dependent upon
if it’s moderate, high, etc., depending upon where
you’re going in. Hot LZ, enemy situation,
things like that. If you had gunships available, or if you didn’t have
gunships available. And many times, we in
Iraq, I flew a single ship, much like you guys had did,
that’s how we operated. In Afghanistan we
started going multiship but two medevac aircraft
because we could help with the casualties by having
extra paramedics or [inaudible].>>Chas Henry: But not having
an aircraft flight protection.>>Paul Roley: There wasn’t, there was not protection
aircraft because there was enough around
the area that you could call in to an OH58 or Apache to be
able to provide you some cover on the air battle [inaudible]
and things like that. And then it kind of
started to evolve where we started having
dedicated Blackhawks with assault battalion aircraft
that were escort aircraft, and then also in some
cases, like up in Jalalabad, we had dedicated Apaches that
would fly with us because it was such a high threat
area all the time. And it was great to have them. They didn’t hold us up. They never, we always
would continue on. They would catch up to us,
and they would provide cover, and many times, they
would launch even, they would already be launched out because the tick was
happening before casualties were reported, they were already
launched to go out there and start engaging the enemy,
and then we would come in behind as casualties happened. So, the aviation
folks, the commanders, which then also became the
Medical Service Corp officers as well as general support
aviation battalion commanders, we were that launch approval
authority depending upon the level of risk or the
aviation brigade commander or in some cases in
the most extreme case, the commander for that theater. So, in my experience it
was pretty well received, things actually moved
pretty quickly. The Blackhawk does take longer
than two minutes to get going. It would routinely, you know,
I think we were trying to shoot for about eight minutes
if we could. Anything less than
10 minutes was good. If you were over 10,
that warrant officer, or that officer was
getting a lashing if it was taking that long. And then obviously with
evolution of the Mike model and the more digital cockpits, it takes even longer
to get those up. And then, so all that piece, the more avionics things you
get added to it, complications within the aircraft, takes
a little bit longer to spin that aircraft up, thus
why I liked the Alpha. It was great because it
could get going really fast, and we could get out
there and go save lives.>>Chas Henry: Sports
care advantage.>>Paul Roley: Yeah.>>Chas Henry: Well, our
time is drawing close here. I’d like to end with
just a question. You know, this is
dangerous flying. It can be highly rewarding
if the patient lives. Whether the patient lives or
dies is impacted by many things that a pilot can’t have
any control over at all. Do you keep track, have you
kept track, at a certain point of your flying, keep track of
how many of your patients lived, you got back successfully,
and/or have you run into soldiers who have come
back to you, and they said, I was in the back seat
and you took care of me.>>Douglas Moore:
I’ve run into two.>>Merl Snyder: It’s
pretty rare.>>Chas Henry: So,
let’s just go down, so Merl, we’ll start with you.>>Merl Snyder: It’s pretty
rare that you do that. I have, I don’t know
that I’ve run into any. I remember some people
that say I’ve evac’d them, but I’m not real sure
that that was accurate. But–>>Chas Henry: Sure, right.>>Merl Snyder: But I
couldn’t say of any specific that I would name that.>>Chas Henry: Doug?>>Merl Snyder: I’ve
run into two. One, I picked up in probably the
most dangerous fog night I ever flew, a wonder we didn’t
get killed, and he had most of his foot blown off. I met him. And then I met a guy that a
round had hit him right here, and it blew out the orbit of
his eye, and his eye came out. And I was sitting
in the briefing room in the 82nd Airborne while
I was commanding a battalion in the 82nd, and this guy had
a patch over his right eye. And he kept looking at me, and he finally said,
are you Doug Moore? And I said, yeah. And he said, you picked
me up, you son of a gun. But he didn’t say son of a gun. He said some other word. But those are the only
two guys I’ve ever met that I know I picked up.>>Chas Henry: Yeah, Paul?>>Paul Roley: I took a
little bit different approach. I kind of understood the
depth of what could happen, as you get to know people
or things like that. So, I kept a distance. I didn’t want to
know who they were. My patient was always, when we
picked them up, they were alive. And it was kind of a rule on
our aircraft, if they were on our aircraft,
they were alive. And we were working our
butts off to make sure that patient got
back to the hospital. We did whatever it took
to make that happen, and then if they passed
away in the hospital, it happened in the hospital. So, I did not keep
track of people. Like I said, what ended up happening was there was a
couple very publicized missions that I flew, and then
obviously things, you get to know the people from
that based upon those missions, you know, being in books
and things like that. So, those are the only reasons I
know some of the names and some of the folks that I flew. But for the most part, I
purposely did not want to know. It was hard. At Bagram or in some
of the other places, we had the hospital
right next door to us. We were right next door. And so every time someone passed
a way, they did a ramp ceremony, where we would honor the fallen. And you knew, if you did a
ramp ceremony, you’re the guy that just flew them in,
that guy didn’t make it. So, it became, I didn’t want to
be a part of that [inaudible].>>Chas Henry: Sure. Nate?>>Nathan Forrester:
Yeah, similarly, you know, I haven’t personalized it
too much, but, you know, I think after, I
mean part of the, the closure that you would
have after a mission would be, you know, hey, you know,
how’s this guy doing. You know, within the, you
know, next couple days or so. But nothing personal,
but it did kind of help with some of that closer. Some of those tough missions,
some of the tough patients that you knew or, you know, were
very close, you know, whether or not they, through surgery,
and back out on the other side.>>Chas Henry: Yeah. Some extraordinary experience
that we’ve had the pleasure of sharing this afternoon. How about a thank you to
these gentleman for doing so. [ Applause ]>>Karen Lloyd: I want to
thank all [inaudible] as well, and as a special token
of our appreciation, we’ve got some certificates of
appreciation for each of them. I want to especially thank
Merl, a mentor of mine since the basic course,
ages ago, who helped, who we had a conversation
about would this be something that would be of interest, and he helped me pull the
right people together, and I can’t thank you enough. So, first, Chas.>>Chas Henry: Lieutenant Lloyd. Yeah. [laughter] Hey. [ Applause ]>>Douglas Moore:
Oh, oops [inaudible].>>Karen Lloyd: [Inaudible]
from the old days.>>Douglas Moore: Thank
you so much, Karen. Yes, thank you. Good job [inaudible]
appreciate it. [applause]>>Merl Snyder: Thank
you, sweetheart.>>Karen Lloyd: Thank you. [applause]>>Nathan Forrester: Thank
you, ma’am, appreciate that. [ Applause ]>>All right, thank
you, thank you.>>Karen Lloyd: Thank
you so much.>>Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Karen Lloyd: Come on up.>>Chas Henry: All right.>>Karen Lloyd: [Inaudible]
thank you again. [ Applause ] Truly that’s it. Thank you so much for coming.

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