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Army's 498th Med Racks Up Rescues
Supporting Marine Push in Iraq War
Medevac BLACK HAWKs of the 498th on the busy flight line.
The U.S. Army's 498th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) reported carrying more than 700 patients during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The unit flew UH-60A BLACK HAWK helicopters during combat operations in a desert environment from Ali Al Salem, Kuwait to Baghdad, Iraq.
"The aircraft performed excellently under the most demanding of circumstances, never letting the crew or the patient down," read a message to the Sikorsky Winged-S Rescue Award program. "The hours flown on each airframe is a testimony to the quality product Sikorsky produces."
"The fact the 498th Medical Company flew a total of 1,550.5 hours in support of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force while evacuating "735 Marines," U.S. Army Soldiers, Iraqi civilians, Iraqi EPW's (enemy prisoners of war), and Kuwaiti Civilians from 22 Feb 03 to 10 May 03 is a testimony to their sustained courage during combat operations," the message concluded.
About 150 soldiers from the 498th received heroes' welcomes from friends and family members when they returned to Lawson Army Airfield at Fort Benning, Ga., after spending nearly four months in Iraq, according to the base newspaper.
"These soldiers did a fantastic job," Maj. Greg Gentry, company commander, told the Fort Benning Bayonet. "This is the first time the Army has provided this type of support for a Marine unit, so they were paving the way, both doctrine and mission wise."
"When we received notice, we were given two objectives," Gentry said. "Accomplish the mission and bring everyone back.
"I'm sure every one of these soldiers feels fortunate that we were able to accomplish the mission and remain relatively unscathed," he said.