war in iraq


Army special operations soldiers rescued

Combat search and rescue teams rescure two Army special operations soldiers

April 09, 2003

Despite severe weather conditions, two critically wounded U.S. Army special operations soldiers' lives were saved by a Combat Search and Rescue team that evacuated them from about five miles south of Baghdad to be later transferred to a hospital in Kuwait.

At about 2:30 p.m. EDT April 7, the Joint Search and Rescue Center at a desert air base in the region was contacted by the Special Operations Command Rescue Coordination Center to coordinate and execute the emergency evacuation of the Special Operations ground troops.

Two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs launched from an air base in southern Iraq, and an HC-130P King refueler launched from another air base in the Arabian Gulf region. The JSRC also had two A-10s, already airborne on another mission, roll in to help cover the helicopters. In addition, U.S. Army helicopters from another nearby base were put on alert status in case backup firepower was needed during the evacuation.

As they flew to the evacuation site, the aircrew of the Pave Hawk helicopters learned the soldiers were in critical condition. They coordinated with a Special Operations MC-130E Combat Talon I to meet them at An Najaf, 75 miles south of Baghdad, to set up a patient transfer transload from the helicopters to the aircraft. The MC-130E had a flight surgeon and two medical technicians on board to treat and stabilize the wounded en route to an advanced medical facility.

With half-mile of visibility at best, a ceiling of only 3,500 feet and fighting blowing sand and dust, the helicopters recovered the wounded and transferred them to the MC-130E at An Najaf. They were then flown to a hospital in Kuwait where they were given a 95 percent chance of survival due to the joint efforts of the Air Force, Army and special operations forces.



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