Australian Army Soldiers load an injured Soldier onto a UH-60 Black Hawk from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Gunfighters, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, during a medical evacuation training mission at Multinational Base Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2012. Photo Credit: Spc. Nevada Jack Smith
An US Army Medevac unit receives award from the Aussies for saving one of their own. The Australian award is the highest of three levels of the commendation awarded to individuals by the chief of the Army. More important than the award, the wounded Aussie soldier's unit personally thanked the crew:
MULTINATIONAL BASE TARIN KOT, Afghanistan (Nov. 1, 2012) -- Australian Forces at Multinational Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, recognized the actions of a medical evacuation crew from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Gunfighters, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, during an awards ceremony, Oct. 18.
Chief of Joint Operations Australia Lt. Gen. Ash Power, AO, CSC, presented the medevac crew with the Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation for their actions during a medical evacuation, or medevac, request in the Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, Aug. 23.
"I felt really honored to receive this award," said Capt. Zach Mauss, platoon leader for Forward Support Medical Platoon 3, C/3-25 AVN, 25th CAB. "Our partnership here with the Australians is extremely strong. They are incredibly professional soldiers and take great pride in the work they do in Uruzgan province. Taking care of their fellow soldiers and willingness to take the fight to the enemy are some similarities they share with U.S. Soldiers."
Before the Soldiers were presented with a framed certificate and two medals, Power spoke to roughly 200 Soldiers in attendance on the medevac crew's actions.
(L-R) Chief of Joint Operations Lt. Gen. Ash Power AO, CSC awards a Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation to Capt. Zack Mauss, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andy Druilhet, Staff Sgt. Joe Buatti, and Sgt. Ian McCallum, from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Gunfighters, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, during an award ceremony at Multinational Base Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo Credit: Sgt. W. Guthrie
On the afternoon of Aug. 23, the medevac crew on duty received a "CAT A" 9-line medevac request. CAT A, or Category Alpha, refers to urgent medical care needed -- evacuate immediately. The victim was an Australian soldier who received severe wounds to both legs caused by an improvised explosive device, or IED.
The crew flew out to the location as quickly as they could. Upon arrival, the medevac pilots had to perform a two-wheeled landing due to the terrain limitations where the wounded soldier was. In less than one minute, the soldier was loaded onto the helicopter and headed to the nearest medical facility.
The medics in the aircraft worked feverishly to restore the vital signs of the injured soldier. With the distance to the patient and then to the nearest medical facility, the medevac crew managed to complete the mission in 52 minutes. This was within the "golden hour" -- the time allotted from the time the call comes in to fly out and evacuate the patient to the nearest medical facility giving the patient the best chance of saving their life.
"The most rewarding part of the night was following the ceremony when members of the unit that hit the IED came forward to individually thank us for the work we did in saving their comrade," said Mauss. "Although their comrade was severely injured, they were relieved that he is now home with his family in Australia making a strong recovery."