CAMP CASEY, South Korea – M*A*S*H, a hit TV show from 1972 to 1983 about the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War, showed a medical team's passion and desire, as well as the guts required for caring and treating the wounded during the war.
Today, Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Combat Avn. Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, still supports that region with real-world air medical evacuation services for U.S. Forces, Family members, Department of Defense civilians and Korean nationals as needed.
They have two team sites in South Korea: The main one is at Camp Humphreys at Area III in and near Pyongtaek, and another is at Camp Casey, covering the Northern area of the peninsula known as Area I.
Crew members from Dustoff, Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, practice procedures required for air medical evacuation services Sept. 19, 2014. These services are provided in emergency situations for U.S. forces, family members, Department of Defense civilians and Korean nationals as needed. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Jessica Meyer)
“We operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year,” said Capt. Phillip E. Walker, operations officer for 3rd GSAB, 2nd CAB, 2nd Inf. Div. and native of Gainesville, Fla. “They are on standby waiting for the call at anytime to change their call sign from ‘Dust Off' to ‘Evac'; signifying a real-world mission where a patient is transported from one site to a treatment facility as quickly as possible.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tristian Gates, a medevac pilot with 3rd GSAB says he honestly wouldn't want to do anything else, that he loves his job and that everyone can appreciate the importance of it. The crew on the current rotation at the Camp Casey site seems to share in Gates' sentiment.
“At any given time the crew doesn't know where, how far or what type of medical treatment will be needed,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Trant, also a medevac pilot with 3rd GSAB.
Trant emphasized the importance of being able to get up and go at a moment's notice.
“They have to be ready at anytime,” said Trant. “The crew has to be ready to launch and be in the air within 15 minutes.”
That readiness equals saving lives. The medevac crew is constantly orienting themselves to the Korean Peninsula, because when they have a real-world mission, they have to be able to maneuver quickly through the airspace to get the patient to the treatment facility as quickly as possible.
“At Camp Casey, the crew is co-located with the Troop Medical Clinic. “This provides the ability to get the patient from site to treatment facility as quickly as possible in this area,” said Trant.
Trant takes a lot of pride in his job and requested to come specifically to a medevac unit.
“The majority of the air medical evacuations come from Area I,” said Trant. “When that phone goes off, we are sprinting to the helicopter. Every person here wants to make an impact and take care of the person on the other end.”
In this mission, minutes can impact someone's life; a consequence every member of this crew understands. This significant real-world mission spans the entire peninsula. It's carried out by medevac crews who are skilled, trained and ready to take on anything that comes their way.
Much like the medical team depicted in the hit TV Show M*A*S*H, these crews are in the business of saving lives. They operate in the same area the real MASH units were once set up during the Korean War.
By U.S. Army Capt. Jessica Meyer
Provided through DVIDS
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