2011 Old Front Page News
Retirement of DUSTOFF Warrior
Noted by COL Bob Mitchell, Director, Medical Evacuation ProponencyThe Army had to say goodbye to a true hero in the Medevac business on 6 October. LTC Dan McCarthy retired in Huntsville yesterday. Although he played down the ceremony and his contributions over a 30-year career, the Army Medical Department didn't let him off that easy. Dan made significant contributions to the AMEDD in regards to his assignments which culminated as the Assistant Program Manager (APM)-Medevac Program Manager of the Medevac fleet. He has left a legacy of achievements that will be hard to duplicate by anyone and the Army is proud that he was on the job, especially knowing that his efforts put the best equipment and technology in the hands of our aeromedical troops. COL Mitchell's son, 1LT Zach Mitchell, who is currently flying Medevac in OEF, is one of the benefactors of Dan's extraordinary efforts. All the members of the Medical Evacuation Proponency team are honored to have worked with this outstanding officer over the last three years. The legacy that he leaves in PEO Aviation makes all of the members proud to have been a part of the Medevac Team and the AMEDD family.
Call For Photos and Stories!
Arrowhead Films seeks photos or sort videos of veterans and
civilians who have been airlifted by Army Aeromedical
evacuation for possible use in a documentary film about the
legacy of Army MEDEVAC 'DUSTOFF' from the Vietnam War to the
82nd Med. Co. Flag Donated To Museum
September 15, 2011 - A flag flown in combat with the 82nd Medical Company was recently donated to the Army Medical Department Museum. Proud of their lineage, the members of C-2-1 Avn Regiment stationed at Fort Riley, KS gave the flag to Dan Gower to present to the museum. Accompanying the flag was a certificate signed by CW2 Brian Bottolene, the pilot in command of the aircraft. During the time this flag was flown with the unit, it, too, came under fire from Iraqi insurgents. Originally the flag was to be presented to Mike Novosel (Jr. and Sr.) but a quick turn around re-deployment to theater and the sad deaths of both the Novosels prevented the presentation. Therefore, the unit felt it best to honor their lineage and the service of the Novosels by preserving the flag at the museum. Accepting the flag on the part of the AMEDD Museum is Michael Vice, archivist on the Museum Staff.
Dan Gower and Pat Fries (Arrowhead Films) travel to Germany to Welcome Home C-1-214th (Legacy 236th Med. Co.)
August 4 and 5, 2011 were spent welcoming home C-1-214th Avn Reg from Afghanistan - this is the unit that Pat Fries and Dan Gower spent 30 days with in June filming the documentary "To Save a Life - The DUSTOFF Legacy." First was the uncasing ceremony signifying the return of the guidon and the unit to home station. For this ceremony, Dan was the keynote speaker welcoming them home and thanking them for a great year of saving lives in Afghanistan. Over 2300 missions were flown flying more than 2400 patients to medical treatment. Following that was a BBQ and fun and games for the kids - including a fund raiser dunk-tank.
The following day the change of command occurred after the award of MAJ Pat Zenk's end of tour award and a special present of the unit's guidon to their outgoing commander. MAJ Scott Menking took command of this great unit. Dan and Pat then spent the next day following up with some interviews for the documentary and ended the day at SGT Campbell's house where they were treated to a great evening meal.
Shadow DUSTOFF Welcomed Home
COL Scott Drennon, current President of the DUSTOFF Association, was in attendance and presented all returning members of C-6-101 a DUSTOFF coin. Soldiers and significant others of Shadow Dustoff, C/6-101 Aviation Regiment gathered together at a company Formal and Welcome Home Celebration on 26 May 2011 at the Riverview Inn, Clarksville, TN. At that event, some of the valorous awards that arrived late in the deployment were presented. Also, the Commander, MAJ Jason Davis presented volunteer awards to their key spouse/FRG volunteers. Another event was the keynote speaker, one of their favorite media embeds (award winning photographer Louie Palu. COL Drennon distributed DUSTOFF Association coins and brought the DUSTOFF Association's "welcome home" for Shadow Dustoff!
1% of Americans may be fighting our wars, but we need 100% of Americans to be supporting our troops and their families. Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden are asking Americans to get involved in any way they can.
A fast and easy way to show your support is to send an e-mail of encouragement to a military member or their family.
Use this link to share your message of thanks to a military family, and it will be delivered by the USO.
Company C, TF Lobos, 1st Air Cav. Brigade
Medical personnel from the German armed forces Company C, Task Force Lobos, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted joint aeromedical training in Jul 11. The training event served as an opportunity for medical personnel to gain experience retrieving patients from the DUSTOFF crews in the advent of an actual medevac mission. Before this final iteration of the training was conducted, the medevac crews briefed the medical personnel on procedures for approaching and exiting the aircraft area. Then, ‘cold’ drills were conducted, which consisted of the medical personnel loading and off-loading ‘patients’ while the aircraft was shut down.
As part of this joint effort, soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division conducted rescue hoist training with a German extrication team.
Operation Second Chance and DUSTOFF Association Montana Adventure 2011
During the 2011 Annual Reunion the DUSTOFF membership voted a generous donation to Operation Second Chance (OSC). OSC is a 501 (c) 3 organization that supports wounded service members during their recovery and assists them as they transition back to duty or civilian life. Founded in 2004, OSC has supported hundreds of wounded service members and their families. One such support function is morale and entertainment trips. Fishing trips, dinners, movies and BBQ’s are some of the types of outings provided.
The OSC assisted by numerous generous donations and the work of many volunteers recently held Montana Adventure 2011 based out of Red Lodge, Montana (25-29 July 2011). Organized and executed by a team of volunteers led by COL (R) Hank Tuell (a DUSTOFF Hall of Fame member) and his wife Linda, Red Lodge was the “base camp” for four days of outdoor adventure for three wounded service members and their wives.
Monday was a trip to the Pryor Mountains and the Custer National Forest where the largest herd of wild horses in the National Forests was seen along with a trip into one of the ice caves. Tuesday was a horseback trail ride into a picturesque canyon with a gorgeous blue sky overhead and a rushing mountain stream alongside the trail. Wednesday was an ATV/Four-wheeler excursion to the top of a nearby mountain (11,000 ft) and a picnic on top. Thursday was a car tour of Yellowstone National Park. Each evening saw a cookout or barbeque at one of the local ranches or dinner at a local restaurant.
On Friday a plane donated by a local rancher launched to return these great Americans to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to continue their recovery. A bit more sunburned, tired from the schedule, but refreshed from the toils of hospitalization, smiling faces boarded the plane and winged their way east. On Saturday nine more arrive for a second week of the Montana Adventure 2011.
Operation Second Chance is one of two wounded warrior programs picked up by CFC for this year's campaign - and is certainly worthy of your consideration.
Donations may be made to OSC via their Web site or by mailing a check payable to Operation Second Chance, Inc. to:
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Flight Medic Course Graduation
Another memorable Flight Medic Course
Graduation was conducted at USASAM, Fort Rucker, AL. This class began
with 37 students and only 25 were graduated. The class consisted of
Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard students. The Coast Guard
has begun sending their Rescue Swimmers to the Flight Medic
Course to build on their medical skills. This class was also
the first class to have a student from the Army that arrived
directly after completing the Medical Specialist (68W) at
Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX. His name is SPC Joseph
Ramsey and he was a civilian paramedic prior to joining the
New Meaning for the 4th of July
Having just finished 30 days flying combat rescue missions
with the brave men and women of C-1-214th GSAB - DUSTOFF - I
can tell you that there is pride in being an American that
is uniquely felt here in the war zone of this God-forsaken
9th century country that is Afghanistan.
Over these past 30 days I've had the privilege and horror of
witnessing both the terrible consequences that is war and
the heroic efforts of these DUSTOFF Warriors of Compassion
to save the Marines in their care. I've flown into the LZs,
exited the aircraft, and crossed those same LZs not knowing
the risks - but trusting in the men who were pulling
perimeter for our protection - I've watched as those same
medics sweated and toiled in the back of a broiling hot
helicopter rocketing along the desert at 150 kts working to
start IVs - administer oxygen - stop the bleeding and I
know of only one on my missions who later died of their
Update From Army DUSTOFF Legacy Film Project in Afghanistan
Dan Gower, DUSTOFF Association Executive Director, Sends: We
are nearing the end of our stay here with C-1-214th GSAB.
Commanded by MAJ Pat Zenk, son of Vietnam DUSTOFFer Bruce
Zenk. Yesterday, 1 July, we marked the death of MAJ Charles
Kelly 47 years ago. MAJ Zenk held formation at 1800 hours
for two purposes. The first purpose was to once again remind
the DUSTOFF Warriors of both C-1-214th and the incoming
DUSTOFF Warriors of C-1-171/C-5-159 of their legacy. Each
day, these brave men and women rush to the aid of critically
injured and wounded Marines in the Helmand Province of
Afghanistan. MAJ Zenk recounted how MAJ Kelly lived his
life, pursued the saving of lives, and the challenges he
faced and overcame in those early days of DUSTOFF.
Vietnam Stories/Experiences Being Solicited By West Point Center for Oral HistoryThe West Point Center for Oral History is currently developing a Web site set to launch online in Nov 11, featuring videos wherein soldiers past and present will tell their stories of their time in uniform. Not only will the content be used for educational purposes at the Military Academy, but the videos will also be accessible to the general public and
historians. (Learn more about COH and watch video explaining its mission.)
Mark Frankel has been charged by the COH to find and interview Vietnam veterans. He is looking for persons who can talk candidly and articulately about their wartime experiences as they are recorded on digital video camera. He is looking for subjects who reside within roughly a 2½-3 hour drive of New York City. In most cases, interviews will be conducted at the subject’s home. The interviews usually last 1 to 2 hours, although there is no time limit and interviews may run longer if warranted. The Vietnam war is vast, still controversial subject, obviously, and trying to capture the entire breadth of the conflict is difficult, but in this initial phase he is looking for subjects who can talk on specific themes, such as the 1965 build-up, the 1968 Tet offensive and its aftermath, “Vietnamization” and the end of U.S. combat operations in 1972, the Draft, race relations in the military during the late 60s, and the difficulties that surrounded coming home.
Mark wants to make sure the experiences of Army airmen and DUSTOFF crewmembers
are represented in this project. He is seeking the perspectives of both former officers and enlisted men. Because the Center for Oral History is a West Point project, he is only interviewing U.S. Army personnel.
Anyone interested in participating should contact him via e-mail, and provide a brief description of their Vietnam experience, being sure to include their rank, unit, and years in country and anything noteworthy about their tour of duty, as well as their current phone number. He’ll need to “pre-interview” prospective subjects on the phone, to get a fuller sense of their experience and how they can help illuminate this still resonant chapter of American history.
DUSTOFF Association Executive Director Visits Afghanistan
The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful. A balmy 120 degree day in Helmand Province. The DUSTOFFers here are saving lives and making a difference - 97 percent survival rate - the Marines LOVE us here. Marine Doctrine is changing as a result - "casevac" is a bad word (so to speak) as a result of having "dedicated" (in more than one sense of the word) medical evac assets supporting their Warriors. It's truly an honor for me to be here with Pat Fries documenting their work and their stories (and there are many). I anticipate this documentary will live up to its billing - I know these guys are leaning far forward in the foxhole to save lives and render care - and they are dedicated professionals and proud of the ethos of Charles Kelly - ask any medic or officer and you hear the pride in knowing who MAJ Kelly was and what he means to them today. Pat Zenk, their commander, demands that they read his story - know his standards - and then live by them everyday!
Arrowhead Films To Document the
Arrowhead Films of Austin announced production began on its latest documentary, a one-hour feature to tell the story of Army helicopter medical evacuation for the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Center for History and Heritage. The film will document the history and legacy of the life-saving role of “Dustoff” from its origins to the present.
The film will be directed by Patrick Fries, whose documentary films about American military service have won numerous awards in both the film industry and the veteran community. Fries' feature In the Shadow of The Blade, first introduced him to the Dustoff story. In the Shadow of the Blade follows a combat UH-1 “Huey” helicopter across America to tell the stories of Vietnam veterans.
Fries will film current Dustoff crews at work in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, including the unit commanded by Major Patrick Zenk, whose father Bruce served in the original Vietnam War Dustoff unit and inspired his son to follow in his footsteps. The film will explore the key roles of Dustoff medics and crew chiefs in saving lives, and the importance of the mission to combat infantry troops who know that if they are wounded in action, DUSTOFF will come for them, a heroic legacy established during the Vietnam War.
"Arrowhead Films has a proven history of telling the story of the American warrior, and extensive knowledge of the history, mission and people of Dustoff. The story is in good hands," said Colonel Dan Gower (US Army, RET), Executive Director of the DUSTOFF Association. Gower is assisting as a technical advisor on the production.
Cheryl Fries, wife of Patrick Fries doing the documentary
To Save A Life in Afghanistan, has made
Facebook page to follow development of the documentary. She is
particularly looking for comments/entries by DUSTOFF crewmembers
from Vietnam and from the 57th Med Det (RA) "The Originals" because
they may want to interview them for the documentary.
To share a DUSTOFF story or tribute and to follow the film
production, join Army Dustoff Legacy Film on Facebook.
Trains For Canine Rescue
F Co. 1-126th Aviation “Chaos Dustoff,” a MEDEVAC helicopter company recently simulated a rescue involving an injured Soldier and his canine companion. American combat-ready service dogs face the same danger from insurgent attacks as their partnered Soldiers – bombs, missiles, grenades and machine gun fire. American military dogs in combat zones do everything from calm the anxious, to search-and-rescue, drug detection and bomb detection. A dog’s injuries are treated just as seriously as a human’s, possibly with evacuation by a medical helicopter crew.
“We look at our dogs as partners, not just as dogs,” said
the training kennel master for American K-9 Detection
Services. “If we go out on a mission and a dog gets hurt,
it’s important to us they won’t just be treated as a dog. It
makes the handlers feel better when they go to work to know
that if something happens to their dog it will be taken care
of. They are more confident in their mission and it’s one
less thing to worry about.”
© Pepper Jay Productions LLC 1991
John Michael Ferrari, penned a song, entitled "Dustoff" while serving in Vietnam in 1966. The song honors the DUSTOFF; the military helicopter that scoops down to pick up the wounded and dead. Pepper Jay produced the song for him. The song, in MP3 format, may be heard by clicking below.
The picture here is a photo of John in Nam with his guitar the week he wrote this song. Click here if you'd like to read the story of the fire fight in Vietnam that inspired the song.
2011 Reunion Photos
Photos from the great reunion we had in February are starting to be sent in. Check out the photos and who's in them by going to the 2011 Reunion Photos.
DUSTOFF Crew Earns German Award
Eight Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s 4th Combat Aviation
Brigade, 4th Infantry Division hold the honor of receiving
the German Armed Forces Combat Action Medal, awarded May 20
at a ceremony in northern Afghanistan. German COL Norbert
Sabrautzki, commander of Provincial Reconstruction Team
Kunduz, presented the awards for their valorous rescue of a
wounded German Soldier in October.
Flight Medic Award
Flight Medic Award recipient of Class 11-02 was SPC Allen Cote. He impressed the instructors from the beginning with his knowledge of patient treatment. He was also the overall pick by his fellow students for the award as well. The course began with over 30 personnel from Army, Navy and German services. Only 16 were graduated.
CW2 Christopher Miller and his wife, Tina, contribute the award that is a print of "When I have your wounded" by Paul Fretts. The Millers do this out of their own funds because they love DUSTOFF Warriors and the DUSTOFF Mission.
MEDEVAC Crew Performs Realistic Simulated Emergency Extraction Training
The hands-on training at Ghowrmach followed typical Army style with a “crawl-walk-run” progression, first offering advice on how to properly secure a wounded Soldier to a stretcher or “litter.” Soldiers then learned how to safely approach an aircraft with low-swinging rotor blades, and load a patient.
After a few dry-runs, the helicopters fired up their engines and the simulated missions started, complete with radio communication between the aircraft and a nearby armored vehicle from C Battery. As the helicopters neared, a Soldier would “pop smoke,” igniting a colored-smoke grenade signaling the landing zone. Soldiers practiced shielding their strapped-down patients with their own bodies from the dust and debris of the landing helicopter. They then rushed toward the aircraft with a Soldier on each corner of the litter. Col. Daniel Williams, commander of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, personally oversaw the training. He said aviation units play the role of guardians of the ground forces in the war effort. Being able to get them out of life-threatening situations is what this type of training is all about.
The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade also recently trained German forces in MEDEVAC procedures in the eastern portion of the coalition’s Regional Command-North, with a “live fire” mission April 18 to show the value of air weaponry in successfully suppressing enemy forces. A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, similar to a MEDEVAC aircraft, fired a side-mounted 7.62mm machine gun at a simulated insurgent defensive position near staged casualties. The MEDEVAC helicopter then swooped in to pick up those patients before transporting them to a nearby U.S. forward operating base for Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunduz in north-central Afghanistan.
AAAA Inducts Steve Hook
Army Aviation Association of America honors SP5 Steve Hook with induction into the Quad-A Hall of Fame. Along with five other inductees, Steve Hook was honored for his contributions on the battlefield during his outstanding, yet brief, career as a DUSTOFF medic. Escorted by MG (R) Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor Recipient and member of both the DUSTOFF and Quad-A Halls of Fame, Steve accepted the honor on behalf of all of his DUSTOFF buddies, especially his crew chief (Gary Lowder from Albemarle, NC) who saved his life on Steve’s last mission, administering CPR twice. Steve had personally trained him in CPR and referred to him as “his honor student.” Among his friends in attendance were COL (R) Bruce Crandall (Medal of Honor Recipient), COL Bob Mitchell, COL (R) Dan Gower, LTC (R) Ron Wilson, Nancy Brady, Wayne and Jeanette Aurich, as well as Steve’s wife, Pam, and his two daughters Sara Hook and Polly Tousey.
14th CSH Welcomes New Commander
COL William Drennon (current DUSTOFF Association president) replaced COL Judith Lee as commander of the 14th Combat Support Hospital at Freedom Hall. COL Bruce McVeigh, the reviewing officer, welcomed Drennon as the commander and said Drennon was no stranger to the “Silver Knight Team” of the 1st Medical Brigade.
C-2-1 Welcome Home
Fort Riley's Charlie Company (Air Ambulance) Second Battalion of the First Combat Aviation Brigade of the Big Red One (Legacy 82nd Med Co) returned from Iraq late the week ending 10 March 2011. On 15 March, Dan Gower, Executive Director of the DUSTOFF Association visited them to welcome them home, thank them for their service, and honor them with a DUSTOFF Association Coin. Outstanding members CPT James Tullis and SSG Steve Graham were given Mike Novosel Hall of Fame coins in honor of their work to make things happen while deployed. Also honored with Proud DUSTOFF Wive's Coins were Terri Tullis and Leighann Swartz for their work on the Family Readiness Group.
Yakima Huey Retirement Ceremony 26 Jan 11
On 26 Jan 11, the US Army Air Ambulance Detachment (USAAAD)-Yakima hosted the retirement of the last UH-1V at the Yakima Training Center. It was a phenomenal event attended by about 150 folks, including local Yakima area veterans, news agencies, Joint Base Lewis-McChord officials, and YTC service members and civilian employees. Additionally in attendance was COL(R) Phillip Courts, former 9th AVN BN Commander in Vietnam from 1974-1976, and two-time Distinguished Flying Cross recipient; COL(R) Bruce Crandall, former Alpha Co. 229th Assault Helicopter BN Commander, and Medal of Honor recipient.
In attendance was the current President of the DUSTOFF Association., COL Bryan Harp, who gave DUSTOFF coins to the guests on stage and the flight crew who performed on the final flight. That crew was: CW4 Joe Long (the oldest pilot and Vietnam vet), SFC Mike Schantz (Detachment 1SG and oldest crewmember), and SPC Michael Hofhenke (crewchief and youngest crewmember). They did a great job, and COL(R) Crandall really enjoyed being back on the controls again!
SSG Kenneth Griffin Receives Flight Medic Award
The Flight Medic Award is provided by Christopher and Tina Miller out of their own funds and presented to the student that gives the most effort and by sheer will demonstrates that they are most deserving of being what a FLIGHT MEDIC should be.
The award is a print of "When I have your wounded" by Paul Fretts.
The FMC 11-01 recipient was SSG Kenneth Griffin.
Charlie Company, 2/3GSAB Homecoming
Charlie Company, 2/3 DUSTOFF unit at Hunter Army Airfield, GA was welcomed home 6 Dec 10. Welcoming the unit home was COL Scott Drennon, his wife Melissa, and COL Bob Mitchell and his wife, Dena.
Proud DUSTOFF Wife coins were presented to members of the Family Readiness Group and DUSTOFF Hall of Fame coins were presented to those members of the unit chosen by the unit commander, MAJ Wilson, who contributed to the success of the mission above and beyond.
The coin COL Bob Mitchell is discussing in the photo below is the
Proud DUSTOFF Wife's Coin designed by Beth Sylvester when Ernie
Sylvester was President of the DUSTOFF Association.