MULTINATIONAL BASE TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan – Australian Forces at Multinational Base Tarin Kowt, 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 MEDEVAC request in the Uruzgan province on 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 on Aug. 23.
On the afternoon of Aug. 23, the MEDEVAC crew on duty received a “CAT A” 9-line 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.
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.”