Difference between British and US MERT/Medevac?

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by b_White, Apr 16, 2011.

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  1. Was wondering about the difference between US and British approaches picking up casualties by helicopter. Please say if any of the info I've picked up is wrong/other proceedures are also used.

    British have MERT (medical emergency response team) which comes in one chinook, with gunners on the side and at the back, with a trained nurses (and sometimes a doctor?) onboard, with RAF regiment (or other soldiers) onboard to provide protection once the helicopter lands. e.g. YouTube - British MERT in Afghanistan June 2009

    However, the Americans use 2 helicopters (often smaller Blackhawks compared to large British chinooks): one with a red cross on it to land and pick up casualties, which has no armaments, and a "chase" helicopter which circles overhead as the casualty is picked up and has lots of guns to shoot Terry with. e.g. YouTube - Blood and Dust.

    Pros and cons of each approach?

    My thoughts: Chinook is a bigger target, but has more room to treat people in (and often there is a qualified doctor onboard, not just a medic so more advanced procedures can be undertaken?) US helicopters are a smaller target, chase helicopter provides better fire support, but seems a bit of a "f*** you" as they side-step the rules about medical (red cross marked) vehicles not carrying armaments.
  2. The MERT is a fully fitted out emergency room with rotors, and comes as standard with 2 apaches. Pedro comes as 2 Blackhawks that land one at a time to pick up casualties and will happily **** everything up.

    Subtle differences time. MERT has to (as a rule of thumb) land in a safe place out of contact, PEDRO doesn't care.
    If you get on MERT your treatment starts right away, PEDRO don't touch you in the air.
  3. Point of Order, US Chase ships are NOT marked with the Red Cross so they can be Armed. they are NOT side stepping the rules. Which by the way wonder why the unarmed Medevacs Need an Armed Escort? because the Terry dont care about the Geneva/Hague rules.
  4. Helis with red cross CAN carry arms... for the defence of casualties and themselves. Same as the medics that man them. A land based ambulance may not, but personal arms can be used, helis may need specialist weapons.

    Even if they land in the middle of a full blown fire fight and hose the enemy down with mini-guns, thus swinging the course of the battle and, perhaps, even winning it; the assault was in defence of a man who needed medical attention and not part of the commanders overall plan to achieve his objective.

    As mentined MERT is a A&E dept with rotors on top, Pedro will do anything to get you (including parachuting in), but they are at best paramedics/adrenilin junkies who have a cool ride (and green feet tattos). The US Army Dustoff crews are pretty similar (they are the ones who turned up with angle grinders to cut the pilots out of the Blackhawks in 'Blackhawk Down'.

    More here

    DUSTOFF Association Army Air Ambulance Flight Medic Medical Pilot

    United States Air Force Pararescue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Aviation Survival Technician - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Also re size of heli. The USAF are currently looking at a new heli for Pedro, it will be based on a Chinnook complete with no end of rescue kit arms and what not. The US have a quite a respect for the MERT package, and thus may be emulating it. In theatre, the MERT or Pedro is dispatched as a matter of need, not of nationality.
  5. does it really matter?? if ones coming to get you your definitly in shitstate!!
  6. Not always the case, a member of the PB I was in was pedro'd after stubbing his toe.
  7. Im not sure that is quite the case as I know of guys that have been treated whilst in flight.

    Yanks seem to have a different approach to casualties than us Brits. Even at section level it differs as I have noticed that with the Yanks the emphasis seems to be on the medic to make his way to the casualty to deal with it. Where as from section level upwards in the Brit Army that emphasis is for the casualty to extract himself (if possible) and self help before being moved back into a slightly safer area to be treated. That behaviour seems to be mirrored by our air assets aswell. PEDRO's will come too you, regardless of how "hot" the area is where as MERT will land close by in a safe(ish) area and the casualties will be sent back down the chain to the secure HLS. I don't know what the official yank policy is on casaulty extraction but these differences are what I noticed during my dealings with them.

    MERT and Pedro's each have their good and bad points and its a good thing that both exsist. The incident involving a patrol from 3PARA stuck in a Kajaki minefield with casaulties springs to mind when thinking about the limitations of MERT. Although I understand that some of the problems encountered during that incident have now been addressed.

    Pedro guys certainly seemed to have very large bollox and thrived on risking their necks on behalf of others which is why a lot of blokes who have spent time on the ground and seen them in action have nothing but respect for them. Whenever some clueless joker has a dig at the yanks with the usual crap blue on blue gag I wish they could see the Pedro guys doing the business on behalf of Brits.
  8. Pedros are just Paramedics, they will do what they can, but it really is just patching you up sort of thing. Nothing more than what you'd get in the back of an ambulance, it is only stabilisation.

    MERT iIRC has full team including an emergency surgeon, full on surgery can begin instantly.

    Tp put that in perspective to beat the golden hour, a Pedro has to get called in, pick up the casualty and get them back to Bastion R2 inside 60 mins of the casualty being hit. MERT only has to get to the cas inside that hour.

    Doctrinely Brits have always extracted casualties to the next level, rather than the next level coming down. Hence the self extraction, the Plt sgt, then up. Americans do it differently.

    A MERT shouldn't land in to a hot zone, you've got a significant number of capable medics on board, Pedro has (essentially) SF trained Paramedics.

    Pedro has its origins in the days of Vietnam, when the USAF CSAR teams would rush in with heli and aircraft fire support to rescue downed pilots. Their very ethos is to kick in the door, grab the cas and then shoot your way out, leaving as many dead enemy as you can, and taking ALL your own back out.

    The paratraining is so that if neccesary the Paramedic can jump in and carry/fight the casualty out to a safer HLS.

    MERT/Pedro = Apples/Oranges but both do a similar thing.

    Mincer nothing wrong with knowing hte difference.
  9. pedron also have the ability to haho/halo in to you, ski, climb etc etc... basically ally as ****!
    all explained in rsoi package on herrick
  10. Stupid question....Pedro? is that just the C/S, nickname or does it actually stand for something like MERT does?

    C/S id in-flight apparently stemming from "Provisional Rescue Detachments"
  11. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Nearly but not quite.....MERT does indeed carry out more than paramedic BUT onboard intervention is limited to what you can actually accomplish in a dusty, shuddering, crowded environment giving it hell for leather for a proper hospital...more than Pedro but less than the Role 3 facility in Bastion....

    ( given the amazing job the MERT crews do I was more than slightly gobsmacked when one of them told me they keep their admiration for the CMTs and team medics on the ground who are getting live patients to them in the first place)

    As MERT is also a priority target for Terry( who couldn't give a shag for some dumb 'Rules of War' dreamt up by a bunch of kafiree dead white guys) OP may wish to think about whether we really want to go into too close detail here .......( reams of TV footage available on YouTube notwithstanding) ...just a thought?...:eye:
  12. i believe it's the c/s but not 100% on it so don't quote me on it
  13. PEDRO is just a call sign. Goes back to Vietnam War USAF rescue flights
  14. Weren't they also called 'dust off' crews?