ZHARI, Afghanistan — There are signs on the bases here that instruct soldiers to keep their tourniquets in their right shoulder pocket. Should a soldier need a tourniquet, that is likely to be the only pocket they have left.
The sign explains, "Unfortunately limbs being lost by IEDs are the left arm, and both legs."
The land mines and IEDs in Kandahar's intractable Zhari District are claiming far more limbs than lives these days, partly because of the small charges they carry and partly because of the effective body armor that protects a soldier’s vital organs.
But it is also due to the speed and skill of Army helicopter Medevac teams.
"I hate the smell of this helicopter," said Staff Sgt. Stephon Flynn, a flight medic with Charlie Co., 1/52 Aviation. "When you wash the blood out and you smell all the iron — it gets in your clothes and you smell it while you're eating."
Minutes after returning from a Medevac mission and having the blood hosed out of Flynn's helicopter by the base fire department, another call comes in.