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CALL Newsletter 04-13
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Chapter 4: Combat Service Support
Topic F: Health Service Support

Subtopic 14: Communications in the Medical Community

Observation Synopsis

Divisions currently do not possess a reliable communications platform within the medical community. The sensor (SENS) and retransmission stations go down far too often. Additionally, between the various brigades, division main (DMAIN) and division support element are great distances. Units have gotten into the habit of using a division's worth of communications assets to support a brigade at the National Training Center and are lulled into a false sense of security that all communications systems work. Currently, many units in the medical community in OIF have had access to digital nonsecure voice terminals (DNVT), FM, tactical local area network (TACLAN), Iridium Phone, and Spitfire Radio systems, and have not been able to maintain contact with either the division surgeon and/or EAD medical elements. This hinders a unit's ability to submit reports, order CL VIII, coordinate for blood distribution, and, most importantly, coordinate air and ground evacuation. Additionally, the FM communications with aircraft is very difficult, whether it be in single channel plain text or frequency hop. The range on the radios makes it difficult to communicate with air MEDEVAC assets greater than a mile out.

Lessons Learned

  • There must be redundancy established in the communications infrastructure and there will be days when communications cannot be established.
  • SENS and retransmission stations are not reliable in a turbulent and austere environment, especially in dust storms.

DOTMLPF Implications

Materiel: Medical companies need to be fielded UHF/VHF radios specifically for communicating with aircraft, as well as HARRIS radios for long range communications.

Table of Supporting Observations

Observation Title CALLCOMS
File Number
Communications in the Medical Community 10001-75185

Table of Contents
Chapter 4-Topic F-Subtopic 13: Forward Litter Ambulance (FLA) Utilization on the Battlefield in OIF
Chapter 4-Topic F-Subtopic 15: Force XXI Changes at the DMOC and the DSS

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