CAMP ANACONDA, Iraq - First, the grievously wounded arrive for the flight on stretchers, some carried by volunteers who show up for special duty
in the middle of the night after working on the base all day.
After the last stretcher is loaded aboard the military evacuation plane, the ambulatory patients prepare to ascend the ramp, one after the other.
Volunteers and staff from Camp Anaconda's tent hospital flank their path.
They clap vigorously and cheer loudly as the first patient appears, and they do this until the last one makes the climb, the circle closing, the
salute echoing through the cavernous C-141 cargo plane.
This is the last sound the wounded American warriors hear in Iraq.
Speed, technology and advancements in armor have made the battlefield in Iraq one of the most survivable in the history of warfare:
- A new blood-clotting powder for major bleeds has proved so effective that it's being issued for medical kits.
- U.S. forces in the field are heavily populated with combat lifesavers, soldiers with training comparable to emergency paramedics back home.
- A fleet of aircraft - including helicopters and cargo planes - is on call to rush casualties to medical care.
- Physicians with advanced skills, such as neurosurgery and cardiology, practice in field hospitals.
- In extreme cases, patients are flown to the storied military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany, within hours of their injuries, in airborne
After two years, the U.S. death toll is rising toward 1,700, far lower than the 3,000-plus deaths estimated for the initial invasion.
Body armor saves lives, but explosions still leave hideous injuries.
Army Maj. Kendra Whyatt of Greenwood, Miss., sees the devastation of improvised bombs and blasts, the amputations of mangled limbs.
"We are a living, true testament that our soldiers are still in harm's way," said Whyatt, a veteran of Desert Storm, the 1991 U.S.-led offensive
against Iraq. "The war is over but the battle continues."
"This kind of stuff is new to this war," Maj. Charles Campbell of San Antonio said of the medical advances. "The most significant improvement is
the critical specialists close to the battlefield."
this shows the need to do even better as the war goes on, we need to take advantage from experience and research and development to handle these
situations for and potential future conflict, Iraq is the best place to learn new tactics and wat works and doesnt.