1990 - 1999

The 1990s

Scuds and Patriots in the Gulf

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Posted by Andy Ormston on

As a Medic in the Royal Air Force, I was deployed as part of the Aeromedical response teams to the Gulf in 1991. On the opening night of the war, the air raid sirens blared and we would ready for what Iraq might throw at us. Thankfully that night went without incident. The Americans where we were had not been so lucky - one of their helicopters had gone off, and came back with several bullet holes in it. As the war progressed, we moved further towards the front-line, following the ground troops as they took more and more ground. Flying most days with our Puma helicopters, we were there should the need arise to rapidly evacuate casualties (Allied or enemy) from the battlefield back to Field dressing stations, and then field hospitals. The set up we had was reassuring to the troops on the ground, and thankfully was not needed much. I remember a Scud versus Patriot interception over our site, with huge chunks of metal dropping from the sky. Miraculously all the helicopters and personnel escaped unscathed - ironically our ambulance took a hit. We also saw the battlefield first hand as our role involved flying across the barren landscape. Having had a few close shaves, our war ended as quickly as it had begun, and thanks to the technology we had, hand to hand combat was almost unheard of. The role we had was later extended to other conflicts such as Afghanistan, and evolved immensely saving many lives that would otherwise have been lost and sharing many of the lessons with the UK Health Services.

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