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82nd Medical Company (Air Ambulance)

The 82nd Medical Company (AA) is organized under the 36th Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Group located at Fort Hood, TX. The mission of higher headquarters is to provide medical support to any theater of operations worldwide. The 82nd Medical Company (AA) mission is to provide aeromedical evacuation, MEDEVAC, to support division level units. Although the company can deploy as an entire unit, generally only one Forward Support Team deploys to support brigade size units. In a theater of operations the primary mission of MEDEVAC is expedient clearing of casualties off the battlefield. In conjunction with ground medical units, aeromedical evacuation plays a critical role to maintain the fighting force.

Constituted on 4 December 1943 as the 82nd Malaria Control Unit, the 82nd was activated at Camp Ellis, Illinois on 10 December 1943. The unit was redesignated the 82nd Malaria Composite Unit on 1 September 1944 and was reorganized and redesignated on 24 April 1945 as the 82nd Malaria Control Detachment. It was deactivated in Korea on 24 March 1946. The unit was redesignated on 15 November 1950 as the 82nd Shock Detachment and activated on 4 January 1951 at Letterman Army Hospital, California where it was inactivated on 5 August 1952. On 1 July 1954, the unit was redesignated the 82nd Medical Detachment and activated as a helicopter ambulance unit at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas on 1 September 1954, where it remained stationed until deployed to Vietnam in October 1964. Located at Soc Trang and Binh Thuy in Vietnam, it stood down and returned to the United States and a permanent station at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1971. It was reorganized as a company with 15 UH-60A helicopters on October 16, 1994.

The 82nd participated in several exercises prior to deployment to Vietnam. These included Exercise King Cole at Fort Polk, Louisiana (1957), Exercise Rocky Shoals (1958), Exercise Big Thrust (1960), Exercise Iron Dragon (1962), and Exercise Desert Thrust (1964). During Exercise Rocky Shoals, the 82nd became the first helicopter ambulance to conduct carrier qualification and operate from a Navy ship.

In Vietnam, the 82nd was initially collocated with the 57th Medical Detachment (HA) at Soc Trang. It later moved to Binh Thuy where it provided medical evacuation support to III Corps Tactical Zone and IV Corps Tactical Zone. In Vietnam, the Unit was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations, one Valorous Unit Award, and four Meritorious Unit Citations. CW3 Michael J. Novosel was awarded one of two Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to Dustoff personnel for his actions as commander of ship "Dustoff 88" on 2 October 1969. During an eleven hour period, Mr. Novosel, a forty-eight year old, ex-commercial pilot and USAF Res Lt. Colonel with glaucoma, evacuated 29 wounded ARVN soldiers under fire near the Cambodian border in Kien Tuong Province. In three trips from the battlefield to the Special Forces camp at Moc Hoa, his ship was hit several times and Mr. Novosel was wounded.

At Fort Riley, the 82nd has participated in the MAST program since February 1974.

The 82nd was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield where it was assigned to the 34th Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade at Assembly Area Pulaski. In early February, 1991, the unit relocated to Assembly Area Plum in support of the 82nd Airborne Division. During Desert Storm, the 82nd provided support for the 82nd Airborne and the 6th French Division along MSR Texas and covered retrograde operations in the same area beginning on 12 March 1991.

The 82nd deployed to Somalia in 1993 as part of the United States contingent of the United Nations Mission in Somalia. It deployed a detachment to Haiti between 12 March 1995 and 12 August 1995.

The 82nd was awarded campaign credit for New Guinea, Leyte, Vietnam Advisory, Defense, Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet '69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait. It was awarded Presidential Unit Citations for Vietnam 5 December 1964, and Chuong Thien Province, a Valorous Unit Award for Vietnam, Chuong Thien Province, Meritorious Unit Commendations for Vietnam 1965-1966, 1968, 1969-1970, 1970-1971, and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for WWII service.

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