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NEWS | May 3, 2024

MEDCOM commander speaks about transforming Army medicine and aviation

By Otis Toussaint U.S. Army Medical Command Public Affairs

In a presentation at the Quad A conference in Denver, Colorado, Lt. Gen. Mary K. Izaguirre, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, delivered an address outlining the critical partnership between Army Medicine and Army Aviation.

She spoke to fellow general officers, coalition, and allied partners, and she underscored the pivotal role they all play in transforming and modernizing to support the future fight.

Izaguirre began by expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to discuss how Army Medicine, in collaboration with Army Aviation, is evolving to ensure the best care for soldiers on the battlefield. With a background as an Army flight surgeon and family physician, she intimately understands the unique challenges faced by the aviation community, acknowledging their dedication and sacrifice.

Emphasizing the current focus on transformation and modernization within the Army, Izaguirre highlighted the imperative to adapt to the increasingly complex and volatile global landscape. She stressed the need for Army Medicine to evolve to address the volume and severity of casualties expected in large-scale combat operations.

Drawing on historical examples of collaboration between aviation and medicine, Izaguirre highlighted the pioneering efforts of Maj. Spurgeon Neel and Maj. Charles L. Kelly during past conflicts. These innovators laid the foundation for modern aeromedical evacuation and set the stage for the partnership between aviation and medical communities.

Looking ahead, Izaguirre outlined three key priorities for Army Medicine and Army Aviation. First, they must work together to clear the battlefield swiftly, ensuring the rapid evacuation of casualties to preserve frontline medical capacity. Second, they must enhance survivability by delivering advanced care closer to the point of injury, particularly in challenging environments like Ukraine. Third, they must prioritize the return of soldiers to the fight, reducing the burden on replacement systems and maintaining experienced personnel on the battlefield.

To achieve these goals, Izaguirre emphasized the importance of integrating manned and unmanned platforms, leveraging technological advancements while maintaining a focus on patient safety. She highlighted ongoing modernization efforts for the UH-60M Blackhawk, including upgrades to the medical interior and sensor systems, to enhance its role in medical evacuation missions.

Additionally, she discussed the importance of training and equipping frontline medics, introducing the concept of Combat Paramedics to provide complex interventions in austere environments. She underscored the need for modularity and mobility in medical units, citing the development of Prolonged Care Augmentation Detachments and protective ground ambulances.

In conclusion, Izaguirre reaffirmed the partnership between Army Medicine and Army Aviation as essential for delivering combat-ready care to soldiers in need. She pledged to continue working closely with coalition and allied partners to ensure the success of future missions, echoing the timeless motto: "So that others may live."

By embracing innovation, leveraging technology, and prioritizing patient care, Army Medicine stands ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow's conflicts head-on, ensuring that no soldier is ever left behind, Izaguirre said.