News / Asia

In Afghanistan, US Pilots Aim to Save Lives, Win Hearts

Medevac units play a crucial role in Afghanistan, providing emergency care and transportation to injured soldiers, and to Afghan civilians
Medevac units play a crucial role in Afghanistan, providing emergency care and transportation to injured soldiers, and to Afghan civilians

Multimedia

Sam Beattie

In July, the U.S military recorded its highest monthly death toll in the nine-year Afghanistan war. As the casualty rate steadily climbs, army medical evacuation units play an increasingly vital role in the war - both in saving soldiers lives, and in the battle for Afghan hearts, by helping injured civilians. Sam Beattie reports from southern Afghanistan.

The emergency call has come, and a U.S. Army medevac team is preparing to take off.  This is Charlie Company of the 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Brigade and the crew has 15 minutes from the time they get the call to get in the air.  Their goal: to get the injured person to medical care within what trauma experts call the golden hour, when the chance of survival is highest.

This time they are picking up an injured Afghan soldier.  He has extensive damage to his legs, from stepping on one of the thousands of land mines that litter the land.

Sergeant Andrew Harding uses his 14 years of experience as a medic to keep the man alive until he can get to a hospital.  Although he is still alive when they arrive, the soldier dies on the operating table.

"It's an awesome feeling when you can scoop them up from the roadside when they are blown up and save their life, keep them alive, until [we] can get to a higher echelon of care, but unfortunately for every 10 saves you make, you lose that one person and that's what you dwell on, the guys you lost," said Sergeant Harding.  

This unit has flown over 100 missions since they arrived here in March.  Medevac units play a crucial role in this war, providing emergency care and transportation to injured soldiers, and to Afghan civilians.

Major Russ Hiedel explains that the military hopes by providing advanced medical care in this remote part of the country, it will help win support from the population.

"The purpose of the mission is to protect the population and build the capacity," said Major Hiedel.  "I believe that providing those services, it shows good faith and intentions and it's just the right thing to do in most cases, is to provide those services."

This 20-year-old Afghan woman has a skull fracture and a broken leg and arm. Her child has facial lacerations.

The medics are unsure how she was hurt, but suspect she was in a car accident, or a vehicle that hit a roadside bomb.  Her grandparents look on anxiously as they are transported to a more advanced hospital.

"More often than not, I've been thanked by a local's family member, a father, a uncle of a child or whoever the familial escort is, they shake your hand, give you a kiss on the cheek, so in that isolated case, they go back to their village and say the Americans did this, the Americans did that and hopefully they will be a little more receptive to helping us out when we need their help trying to catch bad guys," added Sergeant Harding.

The war in Afghanistan is entering its ninth year, and thousands of soldiers and civilians have lost their lives.  With no end in sight, the medevac units stand by for their next call.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More