PTC remembers war dead at ceremony (Video)

Mon, 05/28/2007 - 1:04pm
By: John Munford
(Click HERE to view our photo gallery of the PTC Memorial Day ceremony)

A large crowd attended Peachtree City’s annual Memorial Day observance Monday morning to honor those who have given their lives in service to United States.

The ceremony began with the procession of decorated golf carts around Lake Peachtree and Music Alive! provided lively patriotic tunes throughout the event. Keynote speaker Rear Admiral Richard R. Jeffries, Director of Health Services and the Medical Officer of the U.S. Marine Corps, informed the crowd how dramatically different the current war, Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom is from those in the past.

While other wars have had mortality rates as high as 30 percent or more, the current war has a mortality rate of just 10 percent, Jeffries explained. That means that far more troops are surviving their injuries, and while that is good news Jeffries noted that the survivors often have mental and physical difficulties such as amputated limbs and post traumatic stress disorder.

Some seven of 10 injured soldiers end up somehow returning to duty, Jeffries noted. In large part this is due to medical advances in the field and at combat hospitals, he said.

The chief cause of death in the field is due to blood loss, and recent advances in the operating room have led to greater ability to use tourniquets in the field, Jeffries said. Also, the services have combat medics stationed much closer to the battlefield, meaning injured troops receive their first care often when the unit is still receiving fire, he said.

That has also led to a casualty evacuation time on average less than 30 minutes in most places in Iraq, Jeffries said.

Despite the destructive nature of Improvised Explosive Devices and other lethal weapons used by the insurgency in Iraq, any patient who makes it to a military combat hospital has a 96 percent chance of survival because of the precision and skill of medical staff in addition to advances in medicine, Jeffries said.

Jeffries noted that the current generation of soldiers is an all-volunteer force cut following in the footsteps of many of their parents and grandparents who also served in the military.

Jeffries urged the crowd in attendance to “take care of our troops” and noted that the federal government has a number of commissions investigating the changes needed to make sure problems with patient care at Walter Reed Medical Center will be corrected.

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