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February 27, 1991

Specter of Ground War Overshadows Desert Storm Medical, Peace Efforts

JAMA. 1991;265(8):946-947. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460080014002

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HOPES for peace, but a possible ground war, occupy US military medical planners as February draws to a close.

However, this does not mean that fliers who have been waging the Desert Storm air war for 6 weeks are being overlooked. Monte B. Miller, MD, the three-star (lieutenant) general who is surgeon general of the US Air Force, emphasizes that there is a flight surgeon with every one of the squadrons that are flying against Iraqi forces.

"There is no laboratory test to determine aircrew fatigue," Miller points out. "But our flight surgeons are living and working right there beside them, and can spot the flier who is becoming overstressed and needs to be grounded for a while to rest."

Navy flight surgeons similarly are monitoring carrier-based and US Marine Corps fliers, as are Army physicians who are looking after helicopter aircrews.

In addition to missions flown from bases or