by DAVID AXE
Wounded NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan often depend on helicopter medical evacuation teams to stay alive. The medevac teams are trained to retrieve wounded troops and get them to a military hospital outside of Kabul for treatment within 60 minutes. It’s called “the golden hour,” and within it, the survival rate is around 95 percent.
At Bagram Air Base, U.S. Air Force crews prepare their helicopters. For the next 12 hours, the medevac teams and machines will be on call to evacuate wounded troops from anywhere in eastern Afghanistan to Bagram’s military-run trauma hospital.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ahrens is on the command staff of the 56th Rescue Squadron at Bagram. He says his squadron is a reassuring presence in some of the country’s most dangerous regions.
“It’s important for many reasons, really, to give the confidence to the ground teams — all our American GIs as well as our coalition partners on the ground — that if they do get injured, there’s somebody to go get them, whether it’s in a benign situation or in the middle of a firefight.”