The ‘Pedros’ in Afghanistan: So Others May Live (UPDATED)
Regardless of what one may think about wars or about the Afghanistan war, there should be nothing but admiration, respect and gratitude for the life-saving, heroic work done by combat medics.
I just watched a Richard Engel documentary on the NBC “Today Show” on the incredibly brave and magnificent work being done by the “Pedros” combat paramedics in Afghanistan.
The Pedros are the brave men and women assigned to various Expeditionary Rescue Squadrons, units that also includes “PJs” (Pararescue Jumpers) and support personnel from other Air Force rescue units.
Their mission is to provide around-the-clock combat search and rescue and casualty evacuation in Afghanistan not only for ISAF troops, but also for Afghan civilians, National Army and Police.
Using the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, the Pedros are always on the alert and ready to go within minutes to respond to the rescue of a downed coalition member in a hostile situation or to rescue an injured, young Afghan boy who has fallen in a well.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has required teams to respond within 60 minutes from the time a medical alert drops, to wheels down at a medical facility, transferring a patient to a higher level of care–a concept commonly referred to as the “Golden Hour,” he said.
“What makes the Pedros unique compared to other medical evacuation teams is their training and equipment – they use their personnel recovery and CSAR [Combat Search and Rescue] skill-set to conduct CASEVAC [casualty evacuation] quicker and better than anyone in theater,” said Major Escajeda.
HH-60G Pave Hawk aircrew go through years of extensive training to include low level terrain flight, instrument and night vision goggle use, shipboard operations, and helicopter aerial refueling.
They are some of the world’s best trained aviators and can fly in any environment, anywhere in the world, he said.
“Everyday these Air Force warriors go into harm’s way, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get to those in need. Risking their lives, they hold true to their motto: These things we do so that others may live,” he said.
As to the name “Pedro,” it’s “a legacy call sign that reaches back to the early 1960’s and the HH-43 helicopter–the first rescue helicopter used in Vietnam…”
The video I mentioned at the beginning is not available yet for posting, but I will include it in an update.
In the meantime, I invite the readers to browse through a superb collection of photographs on the Pedros by Michael Yon, the famous writer, independent journalist and combat photographer, at Michael Yon’s Online Magazine.
Image: “Pedro, PJ crews fly into hostile zones to save lives”
Capt. Rob Roth, 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron mission pilot, gears up during a preflight check March 5. Captain Roth is assigned to the 66th Rescue Squadron from Nellis AFB, NV. The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is postured to take-off at a moment’s notice in response to medical evacuation requests.
Courtesy: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nancy Hooks
Here is that great documentary