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March 27, 1991

Desert Storm: Medical Airlift Was Ready

JAMA. 1991;265(12):1497-1501. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460120011002

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IN PEACETIME, the US military's aeromedical evacuation system transports 250 to 300 patients a day to facilities where they can receive specialized care. Anticipating heavy casualties from fighting in the Persian Gulf, the Air Force instituted contingency plans for expanding this system to "comfortably" move up to 1500 patients a day.

However, in one of the happiest outcomes of the Desert Storm operation, the total of allied wounded is much lower than commanders feared. So the Military Airlift Command (MAC) was not called on to demonstrate the aeromedical evacuation system's maximum capability.

Practicing for War  One of the missions of MAC, which is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base (AFB) in southern Illinois, is to transport war casualties from medical facilities in or close to the theater of military operations to hospitals in neighboring countries or the United States where the casualties can receive more definitive care. It stays prepared