Weekly Meeting - November 13: How Our Military Today Cares For Men and Women Wounded In Action

Hi Speaker: Colonel Karl Edelmann is the Commander of the 514th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. He is responsible for recruiting, training and equipping officers and enlisted airmen for an En Route Patient Staging Squadron and two Critical Care Air Transport Teams. He entered the Air Force Reserve through direct commission in June 2001 as a traditional reservist and Officer-in-Charge of Physical Examinations at the 927th Aerospace Medicine Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, Michigan. During his tour there, he also was responsible for Laboratory Service, Infection Control, and Self Inspection and was the wing HIV officer. As a result of the base realignment and closure process, Colonel Edelmann planned and implemented the transfer of the medical unit from Selfridge to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. In 2008, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2010, he was assigned to the 459th Aerospace Medicine Squadron at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington DC. as Chief of Aerospace Medicine. Colonel Edelmann became commander of the Squadron in October 2011. In civilian life, he is a Board Certified Family Physician and Geriatrician; teaches strategy for the University College at the University of Maryland; and has served as President of the Southern Shores Field Service Council, Boy Scouts of America, covering 11 counties here in Southeast Michigan. He holds B.S. (1984) and M.D. (1986) degrees from the University of Michigan.

It is fair to say that the last American war that enjoyed universal approval was World War II. Those of us who came of age in the heyday of the Vietnam War, a conflict that had ill-defined goals from the outset, were the first to experience the implosion of political support for an armed intervention abroad. Our involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan have become equally controversial over time. When that happens, the ensuing geopolitical argument sometimes loses sight of the sacrifice made by men and women in uniform on the ground. Their service is not grounded in personal endorsement of war aims. It rather is a matter of faithfully carrying out the mission(s) assigned to them.

Ernie Pyle, the noted battlefield correspondent during World War II, put it best: “Even after a winter of living with wholesale death and vile destruction, it is only spasmodically that I seem capable of realizing how real and how awful this war is. … I heard of a high British officer who went over this battlefield just after the action was over. American boys were still lying dead in their foxholes, their rifles still grasped in firing position in their dead hands. And the veteran English soldier remarked time and again, in a sort of hushed eulogy spoken only to himself [-] ‘Brave men. Brave men.’ “
Ernie’s War: The Best of Ernie Pyle’s World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 103-05.

Our speaker this afternoon will refocus our thoughts  on this reality, not the pros or cons of the conflicts our service men and women have been dispatched to. He will present an overview of Air Force Medicine from battlefield point of injury to definitive care, with an emphasis on the stabilization and transport of wounded warriors . His presentation will include personal experiences and anecdotes from colleagues throughout his years of Air Force service.