A special operations Ranger raid force conducted a helicopter insertion on a dark night in Wardak province in Afghanistan last summer. The task was routine, however, on that night it included cutting edge, lifesaving medical procedures that were never done in combat. The assault force received accurate Ak-47 machine gun and other small arms fire from the enemy. Returning fire with M4 carbines and squad automatic weapons, the Ranger assault force maneuvered on a shooter who barricaded himself into a fighting position. Three Rangers were wounded when there was a large explosion near the breach of the compound. Through the chaos of enemy fire, Ranger Combat Medics Staff Sgt. Charles Bowen and Sgt. Ty Able, evacuated the wounded casualties and began crucial lifesaving interventions. Bowen and Able ignored their own survival instincts, displaying the highest levels of courage in order to save six wounded casualties. The two medics facilitated the ROLO protocol, a program that allows one soldier to transfer their blood to a wounded soldier in just minutes on the battlefield. This success in executing the ROLO program is hoped to inspire units across the DoD to adopt the “relatively simple” programs, greatly improving medical options on the battlefield.
The Crossroads of Special Operations