Speed saves lives. Ninety percent of service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are surviving their injuries---up from 76% in the Vietnam war. Better armor and improved medical techniques have helped lower the death rate, but the key factor is fast evacuation. The proveriable "Golden Hour" for medical evacuation is closer to ninety minutes now. Medical treatment occurs much futher forward on the battlefield, and continues progressively along the way, up to and including evacuation from theater back to the United States.
In roadside attacks, more than one-half the injuries are caused by improvised explosive devices (IED), devastating homemade roadside bombs, and booby traps. When an IED destroys a vehicle, there are generally multiple severe injuries to multiple personnel.
Head and limb injuries are one of the signature wounds of the post-9/11 conflicts because our adversaries have made the IED their weapon of choice. Modern armor and rapid care mean most of the injured survive, but many live with traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and post-traumatic stress.
Overseas Contingency Operations (formerly GWOT) facts:
- Wounded in Action in overseas continengcy operations (OCO) through 19 September 2014: 52,229
- Killed in Action: 5,386, Total Deaths: 6,837
- More than 2,000,000 US personnel have deployed since OCT 2001
- Nearly 4,000,000 medical encounters and 70,000 medical evacuations from theater since 2005
- Due to improvements in immediate medical care, 90% of troops wounded in the wars survive their injuries, compared with 76% in the Persian Gulf War.
- Battle-Injury major limb amputations (through DEC 2013): 1,558
Retrieved from http://www.defense.gov/NEWS/casualty.pdf
Retrieved from http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22452.pdf