66 is not 59

Over the past few weeks we have reported on flaws in Army MEDEVAC (medical evacuation of wounded) policy in Afghanistan that may be responsible for unnecessary combat deaths. This issue was first brought to light by journalist Michael Yon, who accompanied a night combat patrol where Specialist Chazray Clark was severely wounded by an IED. Precious minutes were lost in evacuating Clark because no armed Apache helicopter gunships were immediately available to escort the unarmed MEDEVAC chopper. Other armed helicopter assets were available and nearby, but not utilized.

Faced with widespread publication of the story and mounting questions from Capitol Hill, the Army has repeatedly equivocated on the issue, and persists in claiming that Clark was delivered to essential medical services in 59 minutes - one minute under the "Golden Hour" standard for evacuation time.

Yon's video of the event tells a different story. It took a total of 66 minutes from the initial injury, not the 59 minutes claimed by the Army. And while CBS, Fox News, the AP and many others have used Yon's video in reporting the issue, none have questioned the Army's claims. This is indeed curious as the video clearly marks off the actual time involved. This matters, both because in such circumstances a few minutes can spell the difference between life and death, and it suggests a pattern of deception the Army has pursued in this case. To repeat: that trip took 66 minutes, not the Army's claimed 59 minutes and Yon's video proves it.