Flight Surgeon Support to United States Air Force Fliers in Combat
SCHOOL OF AEROSPACE MEDICINE BROOKS AFB TX CLINICAL SCIENCES DIV
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The everyday practice and operational applications of U.S. Air Force flight medicine by its flight surgeons at the end of the 20th century comprise a system of medical care and support that is unique in human history. This system of preventive, occupational, clinical and participatory medicine seems so natural that modern aviators and flight surgeons may take it for granted, having little understanding of the manner in which it developed and matured. Yet, one may fairly argue that military aviation as we know it today would not be possible without its flight surgeons. Herein lies an in-depth review and analysis of the role of the flight surgeon in combat operations from an academic and historical point of view. This report provides a rich source of information both for novice flight surgeons and for their experienced colleagues, as well as a historical record, a detailed bibliography and a summary of the lessons hard-learned in past conflicts. Examples of the consequences of not providing aeromedical services provide a clear justification for the existence of the flight surgeon system and may prove useful in times of cutbacks in personnel and funding. The record clearly demonstrates that physicians trained in the principles of aviation medicine and assigned to flying units to care for the fliers contribute in specific ways to unit safety and effectiveness. Acknowledging the significant and notable contributions to flight medicine made by our aeromedical colleagues in the Navy and in the post-1949 Army, this report focuses on Army flight medicine prior to 1949 and Air Force flight medicine subsequent to 1949.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Medicine and Medical Research