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I was asked by a young man today if the 46 Medivac birds stacked stretchers/litters in the cargo area?... only flying the 46F models back here in the States myself, I could not answer his question. Care to comment?
In the time frame that I flew in, we did not have stretchers. The medevacs I flew were generally flights that were on another mission that was diverted. The medevac was generally brought in on a poncho liner.
I believe Larry is correct; Stretchers being brought to the Medevac Bird were the rare exception, not the general rule. Especially during TET 68 and for most Medevacs coming out of the field.
Medevac Aircraft did carry strechers because most wounded were brought to the Medevac Aircraft without strechers.
Medevac missions were often pulled by the nearest available aircraft and due to be on another type of mission these aircraft were often without strechers.
I encountered stretchers mostly out of established Combat Bases like, Khe Sanh, Con Thien or Camp Carroll. Stretchers were not carried to the field by Recon Teams, SOG Teams or on other small unit patrols or operations. While some photos do depict the strechers, it should be kept in mind that those photos were usually taken at fire bases or Medevac Stations, or from large battalion size operations.
Here are a few photos of 46 Medevacs that without explanation could be misleading.
Photo #3810 depicts the normal Medevac, the stretchers are being brought to the CH-46 by U S Navy Corpsman from the Aid Station, and then the wounded are placed on the stretchers and carried to the Aid Station for Medical Assistance.
Photo #2092 depicts a Con Thien Medevac being carried from the Con Thien Aid Station to the Medevac Zone. He was probably moved by poncho or hand carried to the Con Thien Aid Station.
Photo # 1926 shows the average field
Photo #3873 shows the way it was most of TET 68
I was "in country" from August '66 'till October of '67 and I don't ever remember having stretchers for the wounded or dead. Even when we were "fraged" as the medivac (Sparrow Hawk ?) bird.
As stated, most came aboard in Ponchos or nothing... once in a while we may have had the seats down and we used those if there weren't to many. If there were, we would put the seats up and had to place them on the floor.
Sometimes we would have a Corpsman on board but most times we didn't even have that.
Thanks, I had told him that most of the time it was as both of you have described. His question really was to add to the history and accuracy of the presentation of a 46 in the HISTORY AND MUSEUMS DIVISION, Museum Branch, Marine Corps Curator Section ..... he stated they just received a 46 for display and did not want to be inaccurate in its depiction of use.
Photo #2964 shows the cabin of an average CH-46 Medevac bird in 1969
Most of the time on the med evac missions it was do whatever you had to do to get the wounded to the hospital ship, or 1st Med as fast as you could. Once while returning from supporting the ROK Marines I picked up 3 ROK's. One had both his legs gone, and another one was missing one leg. The third guy still had all his body parts, but was bleeding from about a 100 holes in his body. Their buddies, and the US Marines that were with them just carried them to the aircraft, and put them on the floor of the UH-1. Within 5 minutes we had them to the hospital ship, and all 3 were still alive when the sailors took them off the aircraft.
What had to be the strangest sight I ever saw on a med-evac mission was: we were flying gun cover for the 46 that was in the LZ picking up the wounded. There was one Marine running for the 46, he had a bloody bandage around his head, and chest. There was an IV in his left arm, and he was holding the IV bottle over his head with his right hand. I guess he just didn't want to wait for someone else to carry him aboard the aircraft.
I appreciate the information that this is generating. I too remember some pretty amazing sites when flying Medivacs in the ol' 34 in HMM 363...... and everyone is correct or in agreement, that it was get them in anyway you could as fast as possible and hope we get them back to at least an aid station if we were too far north to get them back to Da Nang or the Repose ....... only time I really remember litters/stretchers was not from LZ's but from one aid station to the Repose or to Da Nang G-4 (?) behind MMAF......
The one time, and I think the only time, Ihad to use the "stretcher straps", was when we were fragged to pick up some wounded from the Repose (???), who had already been treated and deliver them to Danang. They unloaded them from our bird into Ambulances, I assume to be taken to an aircraft flying them to Japan or the Philippines.
I had never used those straps before and it took us quite awhile to get them rigged, so that the hooks, which held the stretcher handles, were of even height. The straps hooked into a cargo tie-down ring in the deck. but I do not recall to what we attached them in the overhead.
That day, they were only stacked two high - the top one was just about level with the top of the window ports and the other about the level of the canvas seats. We got four on each side, plus a couple of corpsmen and made several trips that day.
Some of these guys were missing an arm or a leg. It is not a pleasant memory.
Attached is the page from the NATOPS Manual showing the set-up of the litters in the H-46. I never saw nor heard of them ever being rigged 'in country', I suspect for the reasons listed above. Speed not comfort was the over-riding requrement of the mission.
Text from the NATOPS Manual regarding litters.
I agree with the others, Most evacs were pop up's and flown after or during another mission. I only remember a couple times using stokes and that was schedules from an aid station to ship or ship to Da Nang for flight to states and I think we stacked those?? Otherwise a liner or any way possible.:( :o
I remember carrying stretchers as well as a "Neil Robinson" stretcher and a jungle penetrater for hoist rescues, and using them all quite often.
In late 70and early 71, there were 2 medevac Frags. One out of Marble (Mission 41 I think) and one out of LZ Baldy (Mission 42)
There were also those Emergency Medevacs that you got because you happened to be in the area at the time. I also remember carrying 2 - 5 gallon water cans to wash the blood down with.
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