Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has changed the rules of engagement for those deployed in Afghanistan, no longer requiring that troops must be in contact with the enemy before opening fire. This is a welcome change within the Afghan theater, as troops will now have more opportunities to aggressively take the fight to the enemy. Part of this change will also include the dispersing of more U.S. and allied advisers to lower-level Afghan units.
The new changes were addressed during this week’s congressional hearing, where Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford stated the White House had given authorized the chance to revise the current rules of engagement, updating them to the necessary tempo needed for fighting the Taliban. While the rules of engagement are officially classified, those in country can now be expected to take faster action when combatting terrorist forces.
“We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces,” Mattis state. “It used to be we have to basically be in contact with that enemy.”
Addressing the House Armed Services Committee, Mattis also clarified “If they are in an assembly area, a training camp, we know they are an enemy and they are going to threaten the Afghan government or our people, [Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan] has the wherewithal to make that decision.” He said that more units will now have advisors for obtaining air support, describing this change as “now being able to bring this fire support to bear where we could not [before], whether it be for proximity or [because] we were not with those units.”
Changes were expected, mainly because in recent years, senior Washington officials have pushed for less restrictive ROEs in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Donald Trump said he planned to ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” during last months Afghanistan strategy speech.
While the improvement opens new doors for combatting the enemy in Afghanistan, Mattis made clear that U.S. forces would continue to do everything “humanly possible” to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.
We wanted to put together a free Call for Fire template for all you dome poppin mortar/artillerymen out there who are dropping warheads on foreheads. Feel free to print this bad boy out and use it to help free the savages out there who are trying to cause ill will against our great nation.
On January 10th a Taliban insurgent wearing a Suicide Vest (SVEST) and a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) detonated near the Afghan Parliamentary Building in Kabul, killing 31 and injuring over 80 people. The attack began with the SVEST detonation near a van followed with a VBIED detonation after Afghan police arrived on scene.
An Afghan Police spokesman said the attackers targeted Afghan Intelligence Officials. Officials believe both Afghan Intelligence personnel and civilians are among the dead.
This is the bloodiest attack in Kabul in recent months.
At a rally in Cincinnati, OH Thursday night, President-Elect Donald Trump made the announcement that he would like to appoint retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his administration’s Secretary of Defense. Trump went on to liken Mattis to World War II hero, General George S. Patton, saying General Mattis is, “the closest thing we have to General George S. Patton.” Similarities to Patton aside, the appointment of James Mattis as Trump’s Secretary of Defense also places him in rare company with former General and Secretary of Defense under the Truman Administration, George C. Marshall.
The National Security Act of 1947 is the piece of federal legislation that placed Mattis and Marshall in such elite company. For a former service member to hold the private appointment of Secretary of Defense, he or she must have been retired from active duty for at least ten years. Later modified to eight years in 2008, Mattis has not met this requirement, only being retired from active duty since 2013. As George Marshall was subject to in 1950, James Mattis will have to receive approval from Congress to accept President Elect Trump’s appointment. From recent media reports, it sounds like Mattis will have the support of Congress, so Mattis might be able to institute his defense policies, whereas Marshall was primarily responsible for keeping Douglas MacArthur under control during the Korean War.
Regarding defense policy, Mattis has not minced words regarding the United States policy towards the Islamic State. He has gone on record stating that the United States needs to take a “firm, strategic stance,” against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations, and believes that the current policy in the Middle East has fostered an environment of extremism. However, some Mattis’ policies differ from President-Elect Trump. Namely, Mattis believes that Trump’s attitude toward Russia is misguided, as well as his belief that torture does not work to the extent that some high-ranking officials believe.
Regardless of your political leaning, or personal thoughts on James Mattis’ potential appointment as Secretary of Defense, the next few weeks will prove to be a unique time in the history of the United States.
Unfortunately, in today’s military, the chances of using a 9-line MEDEVAC format in combat is high and many operational personnel are not receiving the training required to call it into medical personnel correctly. If a MEDEVAC is improperly requested in, the patient may not receive medical care promptly, possibly resulting in catastrophic consequences. All personnel, civilian or military should be trained to calmly and collectively call in a 9-Line MEDEVAC under stress. Additionally, training should include stressful scenarios where personnel, from privates to senior officers, practice calling in MEDEVACS to training cadre.
When calling in a MEDEVAC, there are several steps that the individual must take to ensure the 9 Line is properly called in and dispatched units are given the necessary information required to reach the patient’s location.
Step 1: Return fire/render the scene safe- Before attempting to call in a 9Line MEDEVAC the scene must be rendered safe. Personnel should not reduce the overall efficacy of the force’s firepower to call in a 9Line. If the unit under fire reduces the overall aggression and violence of action against the enemy force it could result in a greater loss of personnel. At all costs, the firefight must be won before moving towards rendering aid to the wounded.
Step 2: Care under fire- Once fire superiority has been established medical personnel can begin care under fire. In this step medical personnel and medically trained operators can start to tend to life-threatening wounds while maintaining security.
Step 3: Determine number of patients by type- this is not only valuable information to have when calling in the 9line but it will also allow medical personnel to accurately triage patients based on their medical condition and chances of living. In this step critically wounded personnel is identified and consolidated in the event, there is limited space on incoming MEDEVAC platforms.
Step 4: Contact MEDEVAC channel- while ensuring the scene safe is important, getting the MEDEVAC out is also critical. MEDEVAC units will have varied response times but giving them notification of the situation as soon as possible will help reduce their time to the station. If the operating element has a BFT, this should be hit as quickly as possible to let supporting units know of the emergency taking place. Again, operating personnel should practice radioing for help as part of their response to attack.
Step 5: Using 9 Line MEDEVAC format to call in MEDEVAC- The first five lines are most important when calling in a MEDEVAC, the other four can be relayed when birds are in the air. Ensure you have a safe LZ for the landing party.
Important: no matter what the situation on the ground the radio operator should remain calm and collected at all costs. Personnel calling in a MEDEVAC while in a state of panic may relay incorrect information or speak in a manner that is incomprehensible over the radio. Remember, responding units will not come any faster if the RTO is calling the 9Line in a sensitive manner.
To ensure the 9Line is called in properly the Operator should consider writing down the information to ensure all pertinent information is passed.
The 9-line MEDEVAC format can vary based on the operational element. Some items use the U.S. military 9line MEDEVAC while others use NATO 9Line or internally generated 9Lines with the unique information required for supporting units. All leadership and medical personnel should get with local MEDEVAC elements to ensure they have proper radio frequencies and 9Line formats readily available. Also, every person on the ground should have a 9Line MEDEVAC on his or her persons at all times. This can be a card placed in an IFAK, on a radio or kept in a pocket. We recommend using the RE Factor Tactical 9Line MEDEVAC reference guide which can adhere to the back of radio, buttstock of a weapon or inside of a vehicle.
Line 1: Location of pickup site- this is given in an MGRS 6-8 digit grid.
Line 2: Frequency and call-sign at pickup site- this is the frequency and callsign that you will be talking to the incoming MEDEVAC aircraft on. In most cases, this is a predetermined, non-encrypted channel that is set-aside for MEDEVAC. If possible write this on all 9Line cards before the mission.
Line 3: Number of patients by precedence-
A- Urgent (surgical)- i.e. requires the in-flight surgeon to perform surgery while en route to the hospital.
B- Urgent (non-surgical)- the i.e. patient has an arterial bleed that can be stabilized until arriving at the hospital.
C- Priority- i.e. injuries that are not immediately life threatening but could become fatal eventually.
D- Routine- i.e. patient requires regular medical care, but the unit cannot transport them by their means.
E- Convenience- i.e. nonlife-threatening care provided to personnel in a combat zone.
Line 4: Special Equipment required-
C- Extraction Equipment- i.e. jungle penetrator
Line 5: Number of Patients by type:
A- Litter- cannot walk on their own
B- Ambulatory- able to self-move to MEDEVAC platform
Line 6: Security of Pickup area-
N- No enemy troops in area
P- Possible enemy troops in area (approach with caution)
E- Enemy troops in area (approach with caution)
X-Enemy troops in area (armed escort required)
Line 7: Method of Marking at pickup site (important: always ensure marking equipment is available to the marking personnel. If you are going to throw purple smoke, ensure you have purple smoke on hand)
A- Panels- i.e. VF-17 panel
B- Pyrotechnical equipment- i.e. pen flare, red star cluster
C- Smoke Signal- (provide smoke color)
E- Other- i.e. IR flash or beacon
Line 8: Patient Nationality and Status
A- US Military
B- US Civilian
C- Non-US Military
D- Non-US Citizen
Line 9: NBC Contamination
*During peacetime provide terrain of pickup site
M.I.S.T. Report– The M.I.S.T. Report has recently been incorporated into the 9Line MEDEVAC format and traditionally comes after the 9Line Format. The M.I.S.T. Report stands for:
M – Mechanism of injury (mine, GSW, RPG, RTA, etc.given)
I – Type of Injury (found and or suspected)
S – Signs (pulse rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate)
T – Treatment is given (morphine, tourniquet, etc.Example)
“Line one, one eight Sierra whiskey papa one two tree one four five one seven”
“Line two, two seven zero zero Bravo Five”
“Line tree, alpha one, bravo tree”
“line four, alpha”
“line five, alpha four”
“How to copy over?”
At this point, the MEDEVAC line will repeat all given and initiate movement for MEDEVAC. Once in the air, the operator will relay final four lines in the same manner provided.
Remember, training to send in a 9Line is necessary for all personnel on the ground. You never know when YOU may be calling in a MEDEVAC and you never want to wait until the situation to take place to figure out that you are unable to call it incorrectly.
A simple way to keep a 9Line on you at all times to carry the RE Factor Tactical 9 Line MEDEVAC format which is available on our website. Made in the USA of tough marine grade vinyl, they are precisely cut to fit on the back of a PRC-148 radio or the buttstock of a rifle.