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Military Medical Services Give Troops Confidence, General Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2006 – U.S. military medics and corpsmen are on the front lines with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the troops have confidence in their abilities and in the standard of care throughout the entire military medical system, a top U.S. general said here today.

Every troop who goes into combat has tremendous respect for the medics who go forward with them, and these medics display the same courage and bravery as the rest of the troops, said Marine Gen. Robert Magnus, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, at the State of the Military Health System 2006 Annual Conference.

"I'm talking about people who, hour after hour, in the most demanding environmental conditions, under the same combat conditions as the troops that are intentionally going forward in harm's way, they are there," Magnus said. "Whenever there is a soldier or Marine storming an enemy position, there is a corpsman or a medic that is right within sight."

The care given to wounded troops by medics on the front lines is exceptional, as is the care at every military facility on the route from the combat zone to the United States, Magnus said. Surgeons at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the nearby National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., are awestruck at the quality of work given to servicemembers at the combat surgical hospitals along the way, he said.

"At every single stage, there is the highest excellence of care," he said.

Most wounded servicemembers are able to return to duty quickly, Magnus said, and the ones who aren't are given quality care throughout their entire rehabilitation. The military has the best combat medical centers in the world and experienced personnel who provide excellent care that is recognized by everyone, most notably the troops and their families, he said.

"Your finest spokesmen are the troops and their families," Magnus said to the audience of military professionals. "These young men and women leave here in the finest condition of modern medicine. You can see it in their faces, as well as in their rehabilitation. You can see it in the confidence and smiles on the faces of their families, however grievous their wounds are."

The quality rehabilitation provided by the military gives even the most seriously wounded servicemembers hope and ability to go on with their lives, Magnus said.

"They aren't disabled, they are enabled," he said.

Military medical professionals also provide care to Iraqi civilians, security force members and enemy casualties, Magnus said. Iraqis are taken to the same facilities and given the same quality of care as U.S. servicemembers, he said.

Medical personnel from all branches of service work together to provide medical evacuation support to U.S. and Iraqi combat units, Magnus said. These servicemembers are a great example of the joint force working together in a real situation, he said.

"The (medical evacuation) crews are literally part of a fabulous joint team," he said. "It is absolutely true when you go outside the wire, when you go forward of the line of departure, when you go down a dark alley or you do an insert at night or in a sandstorm -- the joint team that's there and working all the way back here is simply amazing."

Military medical leaders should be proud of the system they have created, which, even in the midst of war, provides an unmatched quality of care to all military members, their families and retirees, Magnus said.

"The standard of care for everyone that is in uniform or has retired from military service is beyond what money can buy," he said. "You have every reason to be proud of the medical health support that you provide to these great warriors and to their families."

Contact Author

Gen. Robert Magnus, USMC

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