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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 8: Patient Transport

Observation Synopsis

There is established doctrine for transport of patients on a linear battlefield. This does not apply in the environment in Iraq, with risk of insurgent direct fire or IED attack. "Normal" lines of evacuation and ambulance exchange points were not applicable. A major concern was the need for a three-vehicle convoy to transport a patient to a higher level of care, or to retrieve patients from the area where they were injured. Current doctrine does not appear to take these factors into account and assumes that the ambulance (either a field litter ambulance [FLA] or track) will be able to move independently. On the non-linear battlefield in Iraq, the three-vehicle requirement severely limited the number of patient transports that could be accomplished in a given period of time. It also often delayed transport of less critical patients until enough vehicles and personnel to man them could be located to accompany the ambulance. This was further complicated by the requirement of a crew served weapon on each convoy, an asset the medical platoons or companies do not normally have.

Lessons Learned

  • Additional armored vehicles are needed in the medical companies and platoons to accompany ambulances in a multi-vehicle convoy to a higher level of care.
  • Establish an SOP for providing timely patient pickup from the battle site to the aid station and then to higher levels of care if needed in an environment with high risk of insurgent attack.

DOTMLPF Implications

Organization: Provide sufficient transport resources for the medical platoons and companies to allow them to evacuate patients without depleting all their available personnel.

Materiel and Organization: Include at least two armored HMMWVs and wheeled ambulances (like the new Stryker ambulances) in the brigade medical company.

'Track' Ambulance
"Track" Ambulance

Field Litter Ambulance (HMMWV)
Field Litter Ambulance (HMMWV)

Table of Supporting Observations

Observation Title CALLCOMS
File Number
Patient Transport 10000-34104

Table of Contents
Chapter 4-Topic F-Subtopic 7: Stretchers
Chapter 4-Topic F-Subtopic 9: Medical Communications

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