DUSTOFF Crews Stay Busy in Afghanistan

by Kathleen Rhem, American Forces Press Service, published in the Fort Sam Houston News Leader, 21 November 2002.

U.S. medical evacuation aircraft crews stayed busy in Afghanistan proving how dangerous a place the war-torn country remains. In three instances, Afghan civilians with potentially life-threatening injuries were evacuated and treated by American medical assets, Department of Defense officials said. In a separate incident, a U.S. service member was evacuated for treatment of a broken wrist.

In the first of the three Afghan incidents, a man in the village of Qala-E-Nasra lost a foot in a mine explosion. He was evacuated to the U.S. Combat Support Hospital at Bagram Air Base, near Kabul, and is in stable condition after undergoing surgery, officials said.

An Afghan man in the village of Tarin Khowt, about 200 miles southwest of Kabul, sustained severe injuries to his right hand, leg, and foot when a hand grenade exploded under unknown circumstances, according to military reports. Officials said the man would have lost his hand, had he not been flown to Kandahar Airfield, where an American forward surgical team treated him.

The third incident involved two children and one adult shot in the village of Deh Rawod, about 50 miles north of Kandahar on the afternoon of 16 November. A three-year-old was shot in the face, and a 17-year-old was shot in the right thigh. The father of the three year old was also shot in his right calf and forearm, but his injuries weren’t reported to be as serious as those of the children.

American doctors operated on all three at Kandahar airfield, and all were reported in stable condition.

Also on 16 November, an American soldier broke his wrist, reportedly by falling off a roof. He was taken to a forward operating base for air evacuation to Bagram and then was scheduled for travel to the U.S. Army Medical Center at Landstuhl, Germany, for further evaluation and treatment, officials said. They released no information on the soldier’s location or activities at the time he was injured.

Unknown enemy forces targeted U.S. troops in Afghanistan twice over the weekend. No coalition personnel or facilities were hit in either incident, officials said.