When a soldier is injured, Medevac units are the first responders of the battlefield.
The North Dakota National Guard is training a unit as we speak, getting ready to head to Germany for a four-month mission.
Medevac Commander Major Justin Wilz says they’re in the process of preparing to take over for another unit that is currently on active duty. The crew will provide immediate medical support to soldiers out in the field who are wounded in any way.
“Really Medevac is the first call. It’s standard throughout the history of the US Army that if there’s somebody injured on the battlefield, they call Medevac. And they know the Medevac aircraft with the red cross, we’re going to come to get them and provide the best care that we can; get them to the hospital, help save their lives and get them better,” explained Major Wilz.
Although it looks much like the real thing, the Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment is just prepping now.
“Quite a few have gone before and done this same mission set before, but the other half is new to the unit or didn’t have the opportunity to go last time,” added Battalion Operations Officer Thaddaeus Solhjem.
They’re conducting training exercise here in North Dakota before they take off in the early spring, rotating about 25 soldiers in and out by mid-summer.
“It’s one of those things: you hope to be sitting around most of the time. You hope nobody gets injured. But day-to-day you’re setting up, you know, you’re prepping your aircraft, getting the crews ready, you’re looking at all the different activities going on so you know where the locations are that are most likely you’ll go to. And then, you’re just waiting on that call you hope never comes,” Solhjem shared.
Major Wilz has been involved with Medevac for eight years. He says where there is a mission, there is Medevac on stand by.
He shared, “My job is the greatest because I know people are depending on me to get the phone call and fly out to come to help them. We’re here to help everyone else, and that’s one of the longest standing traditions of Medevac, is that if someone calls, they know we’re going to come and get them.”
As Solhjem says, it’s all worth it for the opportunity to save a fellow soldier’s life.
Medevac can also help in civilian situations when needed. Major Wilz says they have not been called on by the Governor yet, but they are always available to assist with natural disasters.