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Wings for Wounded Warriors

Harold F. Funsch, USAF (MC); Max J. Nareff, USAF (MC); Philip B. Watkins, USAF (MC)
JAMA. 1967;200(5):391-398. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120180079012.
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For the first time in history, an American casualty can be moved 8,000 miles—from the battle front to a definitive care hospital in the United States—in as little as 72 hours or less. Modern US Air Force jets need only 201/2 of those hours for the flight from Tan Son Nhut to Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington, DC. From Clark Air Base in the Philippines—where many casualties receive intensive short-term care—it is only 13 hours to the US west coast.

Aeromedical flights are not limited to patients from the war in Vietnam, however. The US Air Force controls a world-wide network of aeromedical activities. Operation of that network presents some complex situations. Medical personnel must be specially trained and then positioned at the right place at the right time. Statistics on casualties and indigenous diseases help military planners decide the when and where of assignments, but the system's success


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