Medical Evacuation by Air (Les Evacuations Sanitaires par Voie Aerienne)
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ARMY MEDICAL INTELLIGENCE AND INFORMATION AGENCY FORT DETRICK MD FORT DETRICK
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Whenever discussion turns to medical evacuation by air, credit must first of all be given to the forerunner of medical aviation, Dr. Chassaing, mobilized as Surgeon Lieutenant during the First World War. However, it is worthy of note that, as early as 1870, during the siege of Paris, 160 seriously ill persons were evacuated from the capital by observation balloon. Then, in 1915-1916, a number of pilots were able to evacuate seriously wounded comrades to the zone of interior using their machinegun equipped fighter aircraft. However, by the end of 1917, Dr. Chassaing had set up plans for the first medical aircraft which was a DORAND type reconnaissance type aircraft which had been converted and specially appointed. Unfortunately, he came up against bitter opponents and had only lukewarm support from those on his side. For this reason, this revolutionary means of transport was not used during the war of 1914-1918. It was not until 27 January 1919 in Morocco that the first transport of wounded men by the Chassaing medical aircraft was carried out. The experimental era of medical evacuations by air had begun.