Evacuation of casualties is difficult at any time. Evacuation of casualties during delay operations is even more of a problem. Historically, the American soldier will interrupt fighting to care for his wounded buddy. Psychologically, the soldier will not accept the idea of leaving wounded behind. The dilemma facing commanders in a delay operation is evacuating their casualties and accomplishing the delay operation simultaneously. Casualty evacuation is very seldom played in exercises. There are several reasons for this. Primarily, commanders are reluctant to pull soldiers out of valuable field training time to evacuate them from a maneuver unit through the medical system.
Here is Doctrine
Doctrinal medical evacuation concepts for delay operations are contained in TRADOC Pam 525-50, Health Service Support: AirLand Battle. Battalion task force aid stations establish facilities of minimum size. Each station is split for rearward displacement. Ambulance support is deployed forward to give maximum lateral coverage and expedite patient evacuation from units in contact. One divisional clearing station of minimal size provides adequate support for the brigade in contact, and clearing stations leap frog rearward as the brigades displace. Extra division ambulances to support the brigade in contact are deployed both at aid stations and at the clearing station to speed evacuation and assist in moving patients when the station displaces.
Several videotapes on Health Service Support AirLand Battle Doctrine have been developed and amplify the above description. These scripts cover the evacuation process from the "Far Forward Care" of the soldier to his eventual return to duty at the brigade support area. This project was completed in June 1986 and final products distributed Army-wide. POC is CPT Ferrer, Project Officer, Unit Training Division, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, Academy of Health Sciences, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, AV 471-2991/2672. However, incorporation of this aspect of delay operations into training exercises remains the responsibility and the choice of the commander.
Medical evacuation will be a focus of NTC rotation 86-11 by the Academy of Health Sciences. Lessons Learned from that exercise will be distributed to the field.
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