What is Dustoff ?

The 45th Medical Company Air Ambulance is the epitome of Helicopter Aeromedical Evacuation.
Dustoff Dust Off

'Si' Simmons summed it all up from a Pilots point of view with what I think is the most beautiful
heartfelt tribute to the Dustoff Medic and Crewchief ever written.
With special permission from "Si" here is that tribute:

DUSTOFF Personified

It's been said that when DUSTOFF pilots are flying,
they talk about women --
and when they're with women,
they talk about flying ---

But when they tell war stories of the "You Had To Be There" calibre, the subject usually locks in
on the feats of their grungy MEDIC and CREWCHIEF.

As DUSTOFF pilots in Vietnam, our task was to insure that timely medical care was delivered to
the wounded; a job that was probably helped along by having a bent for foxy flying and being a
button short ---

The "medical care" we "delivered" was a different story -- ---

Our "Medic and Crewchief team" aboard was the precious cargo for whom the wounded
watched and prayed --

Through the plexiglass we've watched them ---- and we've watched the wounded watch them ---
with litter and weapon in hand, trudge through waist-deep rice paddies, through tangled jungle
growth, up rocky mountainsides, hang from skids with outstretched hand, jump to watery depths,
tear into burning cockpits, hug a jungle penetrator as it takes them through triple canopy --
all too often under withering enemy fire.

We've watched both as they've emptied clips into treelines, bunkers and jungled hideouts --
buying altitude -- before turning to continue tending the wounded, halt hemorrhage, close a
sucking chest, start fluids, calm hysteria, breath life, cuddle babies maimed.

As their wounded were off-loaded to definitive care-- we've watched the "thumbs up" as their tired
eyes and muddy faces grin at a life given --

and too often we've watched a sudden stiffness -- a desperation -- as they carefully --
almost reverently -- slide a lifeless litter from the hold --- then resignation ---
then --"clear on the right"! -- and back to the job --

Leaving the flightline at mission's end, we've turned and watched both - in searing heat or monsoon
storms and dead of night -- tie the blade, check the damage, hose the red from their rotten smelling
station -- refit gear and ammo, and begin the tedious and demanding postflight or the too-often
twenty five hour inspection. --
And we get the "high sign" as we yell, "We'll save chow!"

Then as we trot back to the flight line as quickly as we'd left, we watched their fatigue unveil as
we yelled, "Wind'er up! - got C's on board?" --

and we watched them suck-it-up -- again -- and scurry to lift off -- again --

to save a poor soul --

again -- again -- and again ----


As a DUSTOFF pilot, it has been my greatest honor to serve with this awe-inspiring team
and be a part of it.



heroes,chuck emerson,pilots

More than 900,000 soldiers survived their injuries and owe their lives
to the outstanding bravery and dedication of Dustoff crews.

The average time from when the soldier was wounded to the time he
was on the surgical table was under an hour and
97%   of all soldiers who reached the hospital alive  survived.

45th Medical Company Air Ambulance,army

In the ten year war, those who actively flew Dustoff missions on a 24/7
basis numbered less than 3000. Our casualty rate was

medevac,medivac,Dust Off,Viet Nam

All Dustoff crews flew with the same spirit and dedication as the legendary MEDEVAC pilot
Major Charles ``Combat'' Kelly, who died while flying a Dustoff mission in Vietnam in 1964.
Major Charles Kelly coined what is now the motto for all MEDEVAC crews:
    "No compromise. No rationalization.
        No hesitation. Fly the mission. Now!"

45th Medical Company Air Ambulance,army

My name is Chuck Emerson &
I was a Dustoff Medic.
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