Now I understand! For years, many veterans and active military have been alarmed about the idiocy of the changes in battlefield aeromedical evacuation known as Dust Off. For reasons having nothing to do with patient care, Dust Off has been removed from the control of the professionals, the medics, and put under the control of amateurs, aviation staff officers, or ASOs. This is the first such change since the Civil War.
I document the unparalleled excellence of Dust Off, and the effects of the changes, in my book, “Dead Men Flying.” Needless to say, it was the most outstanding battlefield operating system of that war – some one million souls saved and unprecedented survival rates. No warrior of Vietnam is more revered than the Dust Off crews.
In the words of Gen. Creighton Abrams, former U.S. Army chief of staff and former supreme commander in Vietnam: “A special word about the Dust Offs … Courage above and beyond the call of duty was sort of routine to them. It was a daily thing, part of the way they lived. That’s the great part, and it meant so much to every last man who served there. Whether he ever got hurt or not, he knew Dust Off was there. It was a great thing for our people.”