Thursday, October 27, 2011

UPDATE: Yon 'reports': ISAF hits back - with FACTS

UPDATE from BlackFive:

Michael Yon vs. Professional Soldiers - And the winner is...

Posted By Blackfive • [October 27, 2011]

This all begins with Mike Yon's essay about arming medevac birds and removing the red crosses. I'll put the responses from the ISAF PAO (in Afghanistan) after the jump.

Now, pull up a seat and go over to the excellent forum at Professional Soldiers and read the whole thread discussing the article about medevacs. "Team Sergeant" is MSG (ret) Jeff Hinton who has the utmost respect from us here at B5. A lot of the commenters are active duty SF, too. Just do yourself a favor and read the whole thread. The best summary is one of the last comments:


I don't know you (aside from some of your writings) and I don't know many of those here on PS for that matter. Although there are some names that I recognize from another website.

When I read your current article (being discussed here) I thought it was rather interesting and while I may have agreed with some of it in principle, everything that you have written here has completely altered what I thought about you previously.

You have essentially called into question the integrity of professional SF personnel who have served more than a lifetime in special operations. You then attempt to deflect another members claims that he had you bounced from his AO by alluding to the fact that someone in his command may have been involved in a murder.

I have to really wonder about your motivations. To me you are no better than the sleazy reporters who make up their own news and facts just to be heard.

In short you pissed off guys here who it seemed were more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and then to top it off you insult them and make accusations. I'll reiterate what others have said. Who is more credible here? You or someone who has spent numerous years in special operations doing the deed. Guys that are in leadership positions who have dedicated themselves to their work and this country.

I am pretty sure that you can answer that question yourself without my assistance....

There is MUCH more, and it IS a must read here. Michael Yon is shown - again - for what he is....'Nuff said from me.

*****Original post:

I'm not going to link to Yon again, but take a look at ISAF's latest response to one of Yon's current 'misinformation' bulletins. (Yes, I'm being kind...) I am not even going to add anything here, letting ISAF's facts speak for themselves. For the record:

From My Position...On the way:

That letter Yon didn't want you to see

ISAF response to Michael Yon's Oct 12 Red Air posting (UNCLASSIFIED)

Michael Yon's blog article of October 12, "Red Air: America's Medevac Failure," contains numerous omissions of key information and errors in fact.

For starters, Yon says the Army lacks the political will to configure its MEDEVAC aircraft like the Air Force's Combat Search and Rescue "Pedros" (Pedros are armed and do not have the red cross markings on the side of the aircraft). Yon is comparing a
pples to oranges. The primary mission of the Pedros is to rescue downed aircrews and other isolated personnel; their secondary mission is to support special operations forces. Both of these missions require them to be armed. If available, Pedros do also perform MEDEVAC missions - again, if available. Pedros can't carry as many litter patients as the Army Dustoffs and there are seven times the numbers of Dustoff helicopters compared to Pedros in Afghanistan. Yon never mentions these critical points.

Yon's point that the Army should arm and remove the red cross from its MEDEVAC aircraft fails to acknowledge larger issues. Doing so would place the US outside its commitment to conducting MEDEVACs under the guidelines of the Geneva Conventions and moral norm for how Western nations identify their aircraft dedicated to medical evacuation.

Furthermore, the Pedro's 7.62 mm or .50 cal. machine gun does provide a level of self-protection but it is not on the level of an accompanying AH-64 Apache carrying 30mm cannon and rockets. The Apache escorts give the MEDEVAC aircraft a much higher level of firepower and protection; something our Soldiers take confidence from when scrambling under fire to evacuate wounded comrades.

As for factual inaccuracies, Yon states that it took 65 minutes to evacuate the Soldier who subsequently died. Not true, the official operational logs show that the mission was wheels down (WD) at the medical treatment facility in 59 minutes; and the MEDEVAC aircraft didn't come from Kandahar, the Dustoff was launched from nearby FOB Pasab and linked up with its armed Apache escort from Kandahar enroute to the Point of Injury (POI). The fact is that despite extended distances and enemy forces in the area, this evacuation was accomplished under the US standard of one hour. Of the 2240 MEDEVAC missions conducted in the RC-S area of operations since 1 Nov 2010 only 1.5% were Out of Standard and 0% of those were assessed to having a clinical impact on the patient.

Yon also states that commanders on the ground have no discretion to call for a Pedro over an Army medevac - an insinuation that they would if given the choice. Yon fails to mention that all requests for air evacuation are called into a central point in each Regional Command called a Patient Evacuation Coordination Cell (PECC). The PECC receives a MEDEVAC request, then determines the quickest way to get the Category A (CAT A) casualty from the Point of Injury (POI) to a Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) that can provide the appropriate level of medical care for the injuries suffered. The ground force commander does not have the capacity to make this call while in the close fight. The system is designed to allow for the most efficient response across the battle space with the assets of not only our MEDEVAC aircraft, but all rotary wing assets. Commanders understand the requirement for rapid evacuation of our wounded Soldiers and every effort is made to execute the MEDEVAC mission safely and effectively. The highest survival rates in the history of armed conflict bears out this fact. In the RC-S area of operations there have been 2240 MEDEVAC missions since 1 Nov 2010 with a 98% survival rate.

Michael Yon's omissions of key information and factual errors have done a disservice to our Soldiers and all those who care about them. These inaccuracies may unnecessarily cause some to doubt the US medical evacuation system in Afghanistan. Further, it could undermine Soldier confidence in what should most certainly be described as the world's finest battlefield evacuation system. [Emphasis mine]



Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see that ISAF report because all along I felt that Mr. Yon was not knowledgeable in the area that he was pontificating on.

And good job on your restraint, Brat.


psysim said...

Maybe we should "keep the money coming" to ISAF to monitor the accuracy of war correspondents here and yon --

brat said...

I like your thinking, psysim! ;)