The New Look in Battlefield Medicine

The Air Force has taken specialized care to the combat zone, greatly increasing chances of survival for wounded troops. “We’ve never pushed specialties this far onto the battlefield before,” says Col. Elisha Powell, commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad AB, Iraq. The USAF theater hospital at Balad has six operating rooms and a staff of surgeons, covering brain, heart, bone, and soft tissue procedures, and other accommodations of a standard hospital, like x-ray capability, all housed in tents and trailers. “If you arrive here alive, you have about a 96 percent chance of leaving here alive,” says Powell.