PYEONGTAEK, South Korea –
A UH-60 Black Hawk hovered above a placid lake at LZ Elbow, a field site, in South Korea. Strong wind from the propellers stirred the gentle lake violently. From the aircraft, a hoist was lowered down to the ground. Soldiers already on the ground rapidly strapped a 200 lb. dummy onto the hoist. The hoist lifted up quickly and smoothly despite the severe winds mixed with dust and water that made it hard for the Soldiers to even open their eyes. The dummy was then pulled into to helicopter and strapped down as the aircraft flew away.
On April 8, Maj. Nicholas Spangler, the commander of the Company C, 3-2 GSAB, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, hosted Brig. Gen. Ahn, a Republic of Korea army surgeon general, for an aeromedical capabilities brief and live hoist demonstration. Ahn and his staff received hands-on instruction and information regarding how the unit incorporates medical training, planning, and materials into performing medevac operations throughout the Republic of Korea.
Maj. Spangler said he expected the visit to, “assist the ROKA in increasing their understanding of how the USFK conducts aeromedical evacuations and help the ROKA to be able to conduct aeromedical evacuation operations within the Republic of Korea.”
Brig. Gen. Clayton M. Hutmacher, the 2nd Infantry Division deputy commander of support, greeted Ahn at the Super Hanger with USFK and 2nd CAB Personnel. Ahn received a USFK medevac capabilities briefing and a tour of all the medevac facilities, including medevac operations and maintenance. The group returned to the Super Hangar for a simulated 9-line medevac mission, allowing Ahn to observe the full process from the intercom announcement through the aircraft launch.
Two aircraft departed Camp Humphreys for LZ Elbow with all of the ROKA personnel on board. Ahn observed hoist operations two different ways: from a “macro” view point (from his orbiting aircraft, he observed the other aircraft conducting a hoist scenario), and from a “micro” point of view (from inside the aircraft, he observed the aircrew conducting a hoist operation allowing him to visualize and hear the crews coordination steps that took place during the hoist training).
Capt. Jae Hyung Cho, a ROKA surgeon from the Aviation Operations Command, carefully observed the training and continuously took notes.
“Even in the same dire situation, U.S. medevac saves lives, while the Korean medevac fails” Cho said. “The ROKA should learn the U.S.’s effective chain of command programs to raise competent aeromedics and a welfare system to support the Soldiers after their services.”
Capt. Dawn Herron, a medevac platoon leader from Company C, 3rd GSAB, 2nd CAB, 2nd Infantry Division, was the officer who escorted the ROKA personnel due to her fluent Korean speaking abilities.
“It will strengthen the ROK and U.S. alliance and enhance the general’s knowledge of USFK medevac operations” said