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Coming Soon: Self-Driving Medical Vehicles For Wounded Warriors

driverless

By Debbie Gregory.

In a move aimed at reducing combat-wounded soldiers missing their doctor’s appointments due to heavy traffic and lack of parking close to on-base hospitals, the Army is venturing into the realm of driverless vehicles.

By 2018, the Army plans to have autonomous vehicles, beginning with a modified version of a Cushman Shuttle golf cart, on the road transporting wounded soldiers to the hospital for rehab.

“Some of these appointments can cost $5,000. So, if the soldier is not showing up, that’s a huge cost,” said Edward Straub, program manager for the Army’s Applied Robotics for Installations and Base operations.

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center has rolled out a three-phase pilot program at Fort Bragg, South Carolina, and several other locations.

The first of three phases of the pilot program is already underway, with drivers steering the vehicles along their designated routes. The vehicles operate at low speeds in controlled areas.

Phase two, which is tentatively set to begin this fall, should see the vehicle driving itself, but with an operator in the front seat, just in case the vehicle should malfunction in any way.

If all goes according to plan, these vehicles will operate independently by 2018, allowing soldiers to schedule personalized door-to-door transports from their barracks to the hospital.

These advances go hand-in-hand with the Army’s future plans to use driverless combat vehicles to transport supplies and soldiers. This new technology is capable of making almost every military vehicle an optionally-manned vehicle.

While autonomous vehicle convoys made up of troop-carrying vehicles like the Humvee and cargo-carrying vehicles like the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck are a huge leap forward, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) also has its sights set on vehicles that are weapons platforms, such as the Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Stryker.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Survival Rates Improving For Wounded Soldiers

medical aid

By Debbie Gregory.

Despite the rising severity of battle injuries from increasingly lethal weapons, some 92 percent of soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have made it home alive.

Every war brings medical innovations, as horrific injuries force surgeons to come up with new ways to save lives.

Civil War doctors learned better ways to amputate limbs, and in World War I, they developed the typhoid vaccine. World War II brought the mass use of penicillin. Korea and Vietnam saw the development of medical evacuation by helicopter.

Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, the Surgeon General of the Army, attributes the current high percentage of survival to training, medical advances, en route treatment and advanced communication.

In addition to the training of the medical personnel, soldiers are also receiving training in lifesaving techniques. This means that while an injured soldier is being transported to the hospital, there are soldiers available to assist the medics so that care begins immediately.

But while battlefield survival rates continue to improve, soldiers in future conflicts may not be so fortunate.

In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. forces had the luxury of air superiority and could evacuate casualties almost at will. But in the future, U.S. forces may not have the same level of air superiority that was on hand in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a result, the Army may be asking a lot more of its medics in future conflicts. That might mean teaching them sophisticated techniques and procedures that they currently don’t perform. First responders, those non-medics in the fight, will also be asked to do more.

One possible aid in the future might be medical sensors that can collect and relay medical data to an intensive care specialist, or a vascular surgeon in the U.S.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: Army Closing Ten Warrior Transition Units

1WTU

By Debbie Gregory.

It is a bittersweet time for soldiers and leaders within the U.S. Army, as the branch is looking to close ten of its remaining twenty-five Warrior Transition Units (WTU) by the summer of 2016.

WTUs were implemented to provide personalized support to the wounded, injured and ill soldiers who require at least six months of complex medical management or rehabilitation. These units were positioned at major military treatment facilities around the globe. Since their inception in 2007, WTUs have provided care to nearly 66,000 soldiers. The Army states that 29,000 of them managed to return to duty.

The ten WTUs that will be closing over the next year are: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright, both in Alaska; Naval Medical Center in California; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Meade, Maryland; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

The Army made the announcement on April 24, 2015, about one month after it stopped assigning new soldiers to WTUs. The target date to complete the closures is August 15, 2016. This leaves a gap longer than an average WTU stay, which is 360 days for active duty and 417 days for reservists. All soldiers currently receiving care should be able to complete their assignment at their current WTU. Civilian, active duty and reservist members who work at WTUs will have to be reassigned or laid off.

The closing of these ten units is bittersweet, because WTUs provide a necessary and critical function for  injured, sick and wounded soldiers. But the upside is that the Army does not have the need for as many WTUs as it did when they were first created in 2007. Most units serve fifty or fewer soldiers, and four provide care for less than twenty.

The WTUs that will remain are: Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, both in Georgia; Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Bliss, and Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Belvior, Virginia; Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State; and European Medical Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Army Closing Ten Warrior Transition Units: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Attack Survivors Come Home: By Debbie Gregory

greeneLast week, several of the American service members who were wounded in the August 5th insider attack that killed Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene were brought home. Gen. Greene was the highest-ranking U.S. military personnel to be killed in an overseas attack since the Vietnam War.

While the DOD has not released the names of the wounded, they have released the rankings of the wounded warriors who were brought home. The wounded are an Army major (O-4), two Army captains (O-3), one of whom is paralyzed from the waist down, an Army Spc. (E-4) who was shot six times while shielding a British major, and a Navy Petty Officer. The attack was carried out by an Afghan soldier. The insider used a machine gun at close range, killing the general and wounding more than a dozen other U.S., British, German and Afghan personnel. After the initial shock of the traitor in their midst, the attacker was killed by return fire.

The August 5th attack is just one of dozens of insider attacks in Afghanistan that occurred this year. It has been estimated that 87 insider attacks have killed 142 troops with the U.S.-led coalition, and wounded 165 others prior to June of this year.

Maj. Gen. Greene was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on August 14, 2014 with full military honors. The fallen general is survived by his wife, Colonel Sue Myers (Ret.) and their son, Army 1st LT Matthew Greene.

The staff Military Connection would like to again send our condolences to the Greene family, and to the wounded, our gratitude and well-wishes for a full recovery.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Attack Survivors Come Home:   By Debbie Gregory