(3) The plan for providing health service support must be simple, particularly
in the combat area. Facilities must not be immobilized by long and complicated
procedures. Except for minor injuries or illnesses which can be treated with minor
surgery or available medicines, treatment in forward areas is usually limited to those
emergency measures which will preserve life and limb and prepare the patient for
b. Control. Control of medical resources must rest with the medical
commander or medical staff officer.
(1) If health service support is to respond to the commander's plans in a
timely manner, the command surgeon or medical unit commander responsible for its
direction must be influential in the operations of medical units. For this reason, medical
units are not attached if their mission can be accomplished by placing them in either
direct or GS.
(2) Since the objective of military medicine is to conserve trained
manpower, medical means must be employed to do the most good for the greatest
number. When a wide disparity exists between the requirements for health service
support and the means available, it may be necessary to favor those patients who can
be returned to immediate duty, rather than those more seriously injured.
(3) The treatment to be performed at each level of health service support
must be commensurate with its available resources. Health service support is not
unlimited. It is essential, therefore, that control be retained at the highest medical level
consistent with the TAC situation.
c. Proximity. The medical means must be as close to patients as the TAC
situation permits. Early collection, sorting, and evaluation must be provided.
(1) In reducing morbidity and mortality, the speed with which medical
treatment can be initiated is extremely important. When planning to support a TAC
operation, the medical planner is confronted with two alternatives. He must either move
the patient to a MTF, or move the medical facility to the patient. Two factors will govern
the choice--the military situation and the condition of the patient. The medical facility
must not be located so far forward as to interfere with combat operations or to subject it
to enemy interference; yet, it must not be located so far to the rear that the patient's
chances for normal recovery and survival will be unnecessarily jeopardized. Thus, a
location which facilitates close medical support where helicopters are used is quite
different from that required when evacuation is provided by litterbearers operating over
(2) In forward areas, health service support is provided by locating medical
treatment facilities as far forward as possible, moving as necessary to maintain contact,
and by rapid evacuation of patients. When evacuation time exceeds that period
considered necessary to hold morbidity and mortality to a minimum, the MTF must be