Angels of mercy: Forward Support Medical Platoon 3 saves lives in Uruzgan
The sound of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter can strike fear into the heart of an enemy and inspire hope in soldiers fighting on the ground. To an injured soldier, there is no sweeter sound than the staccato thrum of a Blackhawk’s rotors as it comes in to carry them off the field of battle.
The soldiers of Forward Support Medical Platoon 3, Charlie Company, 325th Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, are bringing excellent medical service to Uruzgan province by serving as the medical evacuation asset for Multinational Base Tarin Kot.
“We cater to pretty much everything,” said Sgt. Daniel Kreth, a flight medic with FSMP3. “We cover anything from accidents and medical conditions, to combat injuries.”
The medevac unit has completed more than 430 missions in the 10 months they have been in Afghanistan.
“Most of the people we treat are Afghan National Army, Afghan civilians, and children. Just letting them know that we are here to help them is a good feeling,” said Spc. Michael Moore, a medevac soldier from Powder Springs, Ga.
In the remote and rugged terrain of Afghanistan proper medical facilities aren’t readily available, and a medevac helicopter is often the only way to transport a wounded patient.
“When you bring a patient onto the helicopter you can see their face transform. They get this look that says, ‘Okay, I’m on the helicopter, everything is going to be all right,’” Kreth said.
Kreth and Moore have flown more than 100 medevac missions during their current deployment.
“You don’t know what you will do until you have to do it,” Kreth said.
“You get trained to do something, and you wonder if you are able to do it, but when the time comes you switch into autopilot and do what you have to do,” Moore said.
Medevac soldiers are often placed in situations that test them in ways unimaginable to those outside of the medical field.
“On my daughter’s birthday I picked up a 2-year-old kid who had been wounded by an improvised explosive device, that really stood out to me because I have my own child now,” Moore said.
Though sometimes faced with horrible tragedies, medevac soldiers show great resiliency.
“You have to focus on the good things and remember you are here helping the people,” Moore said. “It’s a sense of pride. You know you are helping people and getting them to the proper facilities.”
Moore spoke about his experiences and the satisfaction he takes from his job.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be doing this type of work. But I’m grateful to be serving my country and have the chance to save people,” Moore said.
Kreth shared his crewmate’s feelings when he said, “It is rewarding though. There is a lot expected of us. It’s pretty amazing to see what you actually know and what you are capable of when you have to do it. You will surprise yourself.”
Not everyone has the chance to experience how it feels to save a life, but the medevac soldiers know the importance of their job and the role they play in assisting the Uruzgan province.
Moore said, “It’s pretty awesome to know that you had a hand in getting that person to see another day.”
Article by Spc. Nevada Jack Smith, 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment