When military personnel request transport for their fellow injured, they are requesting a medical evacuation. This process is known simply as sending a MEDEVAC request, or transmitting a 9-line. The request consists of nine lines of pertinent information, hence the name, and includes the location and severity of the wounded soldier. Soldiers often send these requests during stressful combat situations, so paying attention to detail is very important.
Before the Call
In combat situations, a request for help cannot be rendered in a situation where you are taking fire. The scene has to be deemed safe to send a 9-line. Once your team has achieved "fire superiority" you can begin to provide aid and triage to give accurate information when requesting the evacuation. Practicing ahead can help you stay in control if you ever encounter this situation. Assessments of the injured are usually done by the medic or senior person in charge.
Using a Medevac Request Form
Army Doctrine and Training Publication 4-02.2 provides detailed information on the 9-line request form. The manual explains each line and how to transmit your information. Once your location is safe, you write down the evacuation information on this form before transmitting. Once completed, you radio the MEDEVAC channel and read the lines of data. The military prefers that this communication be sent by secured methods, but approves the transmission even if privacy is impossible.
When transmitting information, use brevity codes represented by the military phonetic alphabet. For example, on line six of the 9-line, if the there is no enemy threat, you would use the code "N" by saying the word November. Regulations state to use the term "break" to indicate multiple information in the same line. For example, if you are calling in for one soldier who is ambulatory, and one on a litter you would say, "Line three: Alpha One Break Bravo One." Initially, you transmit the first five lines. Once help is engaged, you transmit the remaining four lines. This is where your military training comes in. For example, to determine grid coordinates, you'll use a map or designated navigational device you should already know how to use.
Most Critical Information Needed
The first five lines of the 9-line are regarded as the most critical. They contain the location of the injured, the call-sign of the evacuation site, the urgency of evacuation, any special equipment needed and the number of patients for transport. Other lines include data about the dangers of chemical warfare, for example, but this is only used during a chemical warfare attack.
Risks and Warnings
The privacy of radio transmission is possible, but can never be guaranteed. Sending a 9-line carries the risk of further enemy attack. Accuracy in your transmission and correct use of codes are vital. Providing the wrong data can delay the MEDEVAC and send the MEDEVAC chopper into hostile territory. Also, carrying the 9-line form with you at all times is essential. It contains the structure and lists the brevity codes. Different scripts in sending the 9-line vary. Some use the word "break" at the end, some don't. Some split up multiple data with "break,'' some don't. Check with your unit leaders about expectations before needing to request a 9-line.
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