Section I. AIR AMBULANCES
MISSIONS OF AIR AMBULANCES
Helicopters are used as air ambulances for aeromedical evacuation in forward
areas. Although they are mainly used to evacuate patients from medical treatment
facilities, they can also be used to evacuate casualties from far-forward areas,
especially if the distance to be traveled is great or the location is hard to reach by
ground vehicle. Although the primary mission of Army air ambulance units is the
evacuation of selected patients, they have secondary missions of moving medical
personnel, providing air crash rescue, and transporting medical supplies, whole blood,
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF AEROMEDICAL EVACUATION
a. Advantages. Some advantages of aeromedical evacuation are given below.
Speed. Air ambulances travel faster than ground ambulances.
(2) Terrain. Air ambulances can fly over terrain that makes ground
evacuation difficult or impossible.
(3) Range. Air ambulances can continue to more distant medical treatment
facilities if nearby facilities are overcrowded or if the facilities are in the process of being
(4) Flexibility. Air ambulances can easily change their destinations to take
casualties directly to facilities equipped to provide specialized treatment, thus reducing
the time and number of transfers needed to deliver casualties to the appropriate
b. Disadvantages. Some disadvantages of aeromedical evacuation are given
(1) Overevacuation. A casualty should be evacuated to a medical treatment
facility as far forward as possible that is equipped to adequately treat the casualty and
return him to duty. The use of aeromedical evacuation sometimes results in casualties
being evacuated too far to the rear, which can interfere with their return to duty.
(2) Weather. Helicopter evacuation operations may be limited by fog, snow,
low ceiling, sleet, high winds, lightning, sandstorms, and/or turbulence.