COL Sam Fricks
The Medical Evacuation Concepts & Capabilities Division (MECCD) continues to drive capability development and integration within the Medical Evacuation Community. Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, experimentation with autonomous systems, Arctic experiments, a MEDEVAC limited objective experiment (LOE), and writing a requirement for a protected wheeled ambulance are just a few of the things we’ve been involved with this year. We’ve also been witness to a post renaming and the ultimate honor for DUSTOFFer’s. We’re excited for what the future holds!
Fort Rucker Redesignation to Fort Novosel
Camp Rucker was established in 1942 in support of training during World War II and was later chosen as the new home for Army Aviation and renamed to Fort Rucker in 1955. Nearly 70 years later, Fort Rucker was renamed Fort Novosel in honor of the legendary Medal of Honor recipient and DUSTOFF Hall of Famepilot, Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4) Michael Novosel, Sr. CW4 Novosel flew as an aviator in World War II, Korea, and two tours in Vietnam; the latter of which he served as a DUSTOFF pilot, rescuing over 5,500 wounded soldiers. As a direct result of his selfless conduct, the lives of 29 soldiers were saved. CW4 Novosel’s family donated his Medal of Honor medallion to be permanently displayed in the Army Aviation Museum.
The Bell V-280 Valor’s Selection as the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA)
The FLRAA program was designed to evaluate the feasibility of developing a new vertical lift aircraft capable of achieving the necessary range and speed required for future conflict with near-peer adversaries. In December 2022, the US Army announced the selection of the Bell V-280 Valor as the official FLRAA contract awardee. The airframe was developed as a Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD), providing the FLRAA program a risk reduction in final aircraft design through the successful demonstration of their respective technological proof-of-concepts.
The FLRAA program represents a significant investment by the Army in the future of its aviation fleet. The V-280 Valor provides improved speed, range, and cabin space, resulting in enhanced mission capabilities for Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO). MECCD collaborated with the Aviation CDID and Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team (FVL CFT) to author the Aeromedical Evacuation Configuration Annex (Annex B) for the FLRAA Capabilities Development Document (CDD). The selection of the V-280 Valor as the FLRAA solution and the subsequent award of the FLRAA contract to Bell are significant milestones in the Army’s efforts to modernize its aviation fleet and maintain its readiness for the future.
MECCD Family Member Inducted into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame
MECCD could not be more proud to announce the induction of Sergeant First Class (Retired) George Hildebrandt into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame on February 18, 2023 for his commitment to the Army, Army Medicine, and DUSTOFF. Mr. Hildebrandt’s contribution to Medical Evacuation has spanned his entire military career and beyond as a Combat Developer at MECCD. He began his career as a ground medic and later became a flight medic, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq where he was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. In 2002, he was named the DUSTOFF Association Crewmember of the Year, and again in 2005 when he was recognized for the “Rescue of the Year.” He was the key architect creation and evolution of the Joint En Route Care Course and the Critical Care Flight Paramedic Course. Mr. Hildebrandt’s contributions to enroute and critical care have directly shaped what is now the standard of care for the Joint Force.
LTC Audrey Boenker Departure
It is with both great sadness and excitement that we announce the upcoming departure of LTC Audrey Boenker, Deputy Chief at MECCD. LTC Boenker’s dedication to the mission significantly impacted Army medical evacuation and the Joint force. We are proud to announce LTC Boenker’s centralized selection for command of the 121st Field Hospital in Camp Humphreys, South Korea. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to LTC Boenker for her leadership, and mentorship, and know she will continue to make a positive impact on the Soldiers. DUSTOFF!