The IAF, Northern Command and the Home Front Command practiced one of the most important missions in times of war: evacuating the injured. A Sikorsky formation, 669 Search & Rescue fighters and medical teams raced time with one goal in mind: getting injured soldiers from the battle field to medical attention
Yuval Tsuk | Photography: Yonatan Zalk
Evacuating injured soldiers from the battle field is one of the most important missions of the Sikorsky helicopter formation. The IAF, Northern and Home Front commands cooperated by conducting a large exercise for the matter. The goal was to shorten the time period between an injury to the placement in the medical care of a centrally located hospital. “Our goal is to get the wounded to see a doctor as fast as possible”, states Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Nir, Commander of Operative Medical Treatment in the Northern Command. “And so, from our perspective, aerial evacuation is the best possible option”.
A Crucial Capability for the IDF at War
The exercise itself was conducted at the front control center of the Northern Command. The Sikorsky squadron, “Knights of the Orange Tail”, was rushed to the field alongside teams of the 669 Search & Rescue Unit. The cooperation unit and medical professionals linked helicopters and the expansive medical forces which will receive the injured when the time comes. “Our challenge at the frontal control center is to pass the missions on to commanders while synching all its details such as threats, amount of gas and weather”, says Major Tal, commander of the control center. “All will be conducted by the book, of course; setting priorities with the help of the medical forces”.
The last time there was a need for evacuating the injured was actually in an entirely different field, a terror attack in Burgas, Belgium. Six months ago, “Hercules” helicopter crews flew injured civilians from Belgium to Israel. This is another ability that the IDF will need during times of war: “During battle, evacuating the wounded in Hercules planes will help us deposit the injured at the various hospitals around the country, thus maintaining a manageable load at the hospital closest to the battlefront,” explains Major Tal. “Our main goal is to shorten the time an injured fighter of the IDF must wait for proper medical care”.