Southwest Pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, Hailed as an American Hero

 

Who is the first person that comes to mind when you think of an American hero? George Washington, the brave general who lead the first US Army into battle and defeated the British troops, thus ensuring the independence of the American colonies? Or maybe Abe Lincoln comes to mind for abolishing slavery. Women wouldn’t have the right to vote if it weren’t for the heroic deeds of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These women are among the first to confront men and speak for Women’s Suffrage. These women, and others like them, did everything they could to be heard by others which was extremely difficult. Mrs. Stanton wrote essays and other writings, but many newspapers refused to print her work.

 

What about modern-day heroes, like the famous NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals, Pat Tillman. He left an outstanding career to become an Army Ranger during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mr. Tillman saved his fellow rangers and provided cover for them when they were under “friendly fire.” The military awarded Pat with the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for paying the ultimate price and for his valiant acts.

 

The most recent American hero to come on the scene is Southwest pilot, Tammie Jo Shults. Back in April of this year, she executed an emergency landing in Philadelphia, PA. She landed the huge Boeing 737 successfully without injuring her passengers. Nor did the aircraft sustain further damage from the emergency landing. When Tammie contacted Philly’s tower, she described the situation in short, yet clear statements. She knew exactly what happened with the engine, and what she needed when they landed.

 

So, why was she forced to land the plane as soon as possible? One of the engines exploded and took out a passenger window. Unfortunately, a traveler was pulled through the window part way, but other people on board the flight rescued her. About seven others suffered minor injuries during the emergency. Once the plane landed, Mrs. Shults made rounds to all of the passengers and spoke with them directly to make sure they were ok.

 

Tammie is a fantastic pilot and served in the US Navy as a fighter pilot. She met this with great opposition though, because she was a woman. Still, she was among the first women to become a pilot. Not only that, but she also became one of the first to fly an F/A Hornet for training missions during Desert Storm as women were not permitted to fly official combat missions. Still, she became a Lieutenant Commander in 1995, which is quite an achievement in the male-dominated US military.

 

Mrs. Shults credits her military training with helping her land the Southwest plane in a professional, calm, and orderly fashion. The military teaches pilots to evaluate situations and prioritize then tasks quickly and efficiently. Military training is different than training to be a commercial pilot because although airlines have emergencies, they are not fighting the enemy at the same time. Pilots trained in the military learn necessary skills to assess and arrange tasks quickly to complete the mission successfully. Once this is mastered, it becomes second-nature.

 

Tammie Jo Shults is one of the most recognized American heroes of 2018. She is a woman of great courage and has intense compassion for humanity. The outstanding character of this woman will stand the test of time.

 

 

United States Air Force flight Suits

Why the US Military and Pilots Chose Nomex Flight Suits  

 

Nomex is the chosen material employed by the US Military and its air force pilots. The material offers a much more unique experience than that of traditional flight suits worn by pilots during the wars of the 20th Century. It is because of this that the flight suits are used by the US Military, as the benefits are worlds ahead of the suits of the past.

 

Flame Resistant

 

Nomex fiber is flame resistant, something that is beneficial during missions and exercises where anything can happen. Taking measures to understand the dangers of these missions is essential to the design of flight suits.

 

While cockpit fires are rare, this does not mean that they will not happen. In military jets, with an array of wiring and other instruments, the potential for fire is even greater. Having a suit that will protect the pilot from fire will save lives should the worst happen.

 

Safety First

 

Considering that these flight suits are used during often-dangerous missions, manufacturers need to ensure that they are safe for use. The flame resistant material covers much of the dangers associated, but there are also factors such as its temperature-resistant abilities. The Nomex flight suit can withstand temperatures of up to 5720℉ (300℃) and do not suffer molecular changes when exposed to such temperatures, such as melting or brittleness.

 

These kinds of properties make NOMEX the ideal material when considering how to outfit military personnel. It is no surprise that the US armed forces have elected to use Nomex exclusively in their uniforms.

 

Comfort is Key

 

Being in an enclosed area, things can get quite claustrophobic, because of this, it is essential that the suits provided to the pilots are comfortable and lightweight. Previous suits were traditionally bulky and heavy which, while ensuring the pilot remains warm, can quickly cause discomfort. The NOMEX suit weighs just 4.5 lbs, helping to provide a lightweight solution while still ensuring protection.

 

Additionally, built-in insulation provides the wearer with comfort when reaching higher altitudes, but can still prevent overheating. Its glove-like fit along with adjustable waist belt gives the opportunity to fit pilots of all shapes and sizes, meaning that no matter who you are you will feel comfortable and secure when wearing your flight suit. There is also a single zipper for quick removal and six pockets to store any necessary equipment

 

Quality Check

 

The Nomex flight suit is created with a sturdy material that reduces rips or tears through its rip-top fabric design. This is especially useful when in the cockpit or even moving to and from such tight areas as there is little chance of catching on hooks, latches and other protruding instruments.

 

Furthermore, the suits are solution dyed to prevent fading and discoloration. This ensures a professional appearance throughout the rank and promotes a sense of camaraderie. Everyone is working towards the same goal together as a team.

 

The NOMEX flight suit has proven highly effective in protecting pilots. The material offers a degree of safety, comfort, and quality that is not found in other suits on the market.

 

 

 

Cockpit Fire Nomex Helps

How Nomex Suits can Help in a Cockpit Fire

Cockpit fires are a rare occurrence; however, they do happen. It doesn’t matter if your plane is a small Cessna, a jumbo airliner, or a fighter jet, all aircraft are susceptible to fire, especially in the cockpit where there are many intricate wiring routes to the control panel and instruments.

If you are one who serves in one of our Armed Forces and are in combat with the enemy, you know that a fire is likely, even if your aircraft is struck from the outside, and a fire does not start. The electrical wires can be jolted, and if they are worn, they can ignite from the impact. Thank goodness for the training you have received to put out the fire if possible, in addition to the excellent safety gear that you wear to protect you from burns. Faulty wiring and regular wear and tear on the wiring, which causes the coating to wear off and expose the wires, is the most common factor in cockpit fires.

Some of the training that you learned during the early part of your military career would include these steps for putting out an electrical fire. Here are the steps, in generalized terms based on the website, BoldMethod.com (http://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly/aircraft-systems/electrical-fire/).
• Review the checklist as you will be under much stress. This list will help your recall the sequences necessary to extinguish the fire.
• Put out the fire.
o Turn off the switches for STBY BATT and the MASTER
o Close all vents, including the CABIN AIR and CABIN HT in the cockpit to avoid drafts as this could cause the fire to spread.
o Use the fire extinguisher only when absolutely necessary as they only last a few short seconds. So, you must be sure that all is done beforehand to prevent the fire from getting worse.
o Turn off all the other instrument switches, EXCEPT the MAGNETOS switch.
• Clear the air only when you’re sure that the fire is out.
o Open all the vents including the CABIN HT and CABIN AIR.
• Land safely as soon as possible.

Following procedure cannot be overrated and plays a vital role in your safety as a pilot, whether you’re in the US military or not. However, there is also protective clothing that is vital to your safety as well, and that is the Nomex flight suit.

Nomex is a combination of materials that make it the ideal piece of clothing you can wear while in flight. It is comprised of Aramid materials which makes it a one-of-a-kind item. Not only is it flame-retardant, but it is also lightweight, as well as durable and comfortable. All of this is due to the special weaving process in making the Kevlar aspect of the flight suit. This unique process is what makes the outfit so durable. The Aramid fibers in the Nomex flight suit can withstand temperatures of over 570˚ F. What an excellent article of protective clothing to have in your military chest! To learn more about the Nomex flight suit, read these two posts on our blog (https://carterny.com/history-of-the-flight-suit-and-how-nomex-material-changed-the-industry/) and (https://carterny.com/aramid-the-unique-fabric-of-the-nomex-flight-suit/).

If you are military personnel and are in the hunt for high-quality, comfortable, flame-resistant flight suits, call us! Our friendly customer service representatives will help you determine your size and complete your order.

Military Gear

How Military Gear Has Evolved in the Last Century

The US military has seen many changes since its inception. During the Revolutionary War, and Civil Wars, the soldiers wore uniforms made of wool with little protective gear for themselves, let alone from the elements. Men froze to death or suffered from frostbite during the winter of the Revolutionary War because they did not have adequate supplies. On the other hand, soldiers were overheated and suffered from heat stroke while they fought in the Civil War because their uniforms did not shield them from the scorching summer heat.

For many years, the military uniform and military gear remained unchanged until the early twentieth century. But it wasn’t until the last fifty to seventy-five years that significant changes have been made, not only to the uniform but the military gear as well.

According to the website, http://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/5-ways-us-military-combat-uniforms-have-changed-since-vietnam, US combat uniforms have gone through several updates.
In doing so, they have helped to protect our servicemen and women while encountering enemy forces.

Two significant changes that the military included in the combat uniform was the pockets in the uniform and the material to coincide with the location where our soldiers are fighting. Manufacturers added slanted chest pockets on the shirts and the cargo pockets to the military pants. Six pockets were attached to the pants in the 1980’s, and a vertical Velcro pocket replaced the slanted pocket in the combat shirts. Then, after 9/11, the military added ankle pockets to the combat pants and wrist pockets to the combat blouse. These additional pockets made tools, weapons, and other items readily accessible to our military personnel.

During the Korean and Vietnam Wars, polyester and cotton were the materials used to create the uniforms. Unfortunately, this combination did not allow the skin to breathe and made it extremely hot for the soldiers. As US military forces fought in more humid climates, like Afghanistan, the military made necessary adjustments to the material and implemented a blend of nylon and cotton. Then, again, after the 9/11 attacks, the military began using the Nomex flight suits as an option for many of those defending the US. The Nomex material is more comfortable, lighter, and more durable than its predecessors. It is also flame-retardant, which protects personnel on the front lines and patrol, should they hit a roadside bomb.

Military gear was also updated throughout the years. During the Korean and Vietnam Era, many members of the armed forces wore heavy equipment, and their weapons were out in the open, usually in a holster. It was common to see them carry rifles on their backs. While the intent was to give them easy access to their weapons, it also gave the enemy easy access as well, especially during hand-to-hand combat situations. Today, the gun holster is secured to the inner holster with Velcro which holds the holster in place while allowing movement. The inside holster has a low-visibility feature, as well as the capacity to carry ammunition, water, and first aid necessities allowing immediate access. The new material that is used today is made of light-weight nylon fibers. It also protects the weapons from weather damage, in addition to chemical warfare.

There have been many improvements to the US military combat uniform and military equipment in the last fifteen to twenty years. As the servicemen and women’s needs arise and adaptations to the uniforms and gear are needed, the US government will do everything to keep our men and women who serve our country as safe as possible. For further information about the upgrades in military gear, please visit http://www.businessinsider.com/8-big-changes-that-have-improved-load-bearing-combat-gear-2015-7.

How Ultrasound Technology is Used to Help Veterans with Prosthetics

Our veterans gave their time, energy and put their lives in harm’s way to defend their country and their families. While serving their country, many military men and women lost an arm or a leg because of various forms of combat with the enemy, such as grenades exploding, or roadside bombs going off.

Medicine and technology have come a long way to help American veterans more freely when they use their prosthetic device. What is the technology that is responsible for such wonderous advances? Ultrasound technology of course!

The unique technology that is in ultrasounds sends messages to the muscles via electrodes. They carry the electrical current to the muscles while you try to move with your prosthesis. According to the Army Times website (https://www.armytimes.com/news/2017/11/30/ultrasound-could-improve-use-of-prosthetics/),
“Because you’re sensing signals at the skin’s surface, you can’t differentiate readily from the muscles that are deep inside the tissue, or muscles that are overlaying… By using ultrasound waves, they can see deeper inside the tissue and can tell the difference between different muscle compartments… This allows us to get much better information about what the amputee is attempting to do.”
This incredible new technology gives individuals better control and makes their movements flow in a natural motion.

Ultrasounds show detailed images of organs and muscles far below the skin’s surface. This kind of technology can also record muscle movements that are deep within the muscle fibers.

So, how does the ultrasound help our veterans move their prosthetics with fluid movements? Well, the individual wears an ultrasound transducer underneath the prosthesis. The sensor then sends signals to the muscles, and the messages are transmitted back to the device. The computer algorithms, which process a set of rules to be followed for problem-solving operations, then process the signals and identify what the muscles are trying to do and how they want to function. The algorithms can determine which individual muscle the veteran is trying to manipulate and moves accordingly.

More tests and research is being carried out with amputees. According to the website TechExplore (https://techxplore.com/news/2017-11-ultrasound-technology-amputees.html), George Mason University’s Professor Sikdar,
“Their laboratory research suggests that the ultrasound method allows for much dexterity in controlling upper body prosthetics, including fine-tuned motor control of the fingers and thumb. In the lab, they have shown that computer algorithms can use this ultrasound method to learn to accurately differentiate between 15 distinct hand and wrist movements. Users can perform partial movements with high degree of control.”
There is a bright future for veterans who have needed to depend on the use of prosthetics to have a better quality of life. Researchers hope that this new technology will help them improve the function of lower-body prosthetics to provide our veterns, and civilians as well, with more flexibility, and the feel of a natural gait. But right now, upper-body prosthetics are being studied. Until then, great strides with making prosthetics more “user friendly” are underway!

Eugene Bullard

Who Was the First African American Aviator During WWI?

World War I began in 1914 and involved not only the US, but Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Italy. Only about 15-20 years earlier the airplane was invented which drastically changed warfare. Fighters and pilots during this time courageously faced enemy forces, and many lost their lives for their beloved country. Unfortunately, it was against the law for Negros, or African Americans to serve as a pilot in the US military. However, one such man defied the law and became a decorated veteran for the French. His name was Eugene James (Jacques) Bullard.

Eugene was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1895. He was of “mixed” race because he was part negro and part Creek Indian. As a youngster, he witnessed a horrid sight; his father was almost lynched. This experience changed the boy, he left home when he was a teenager and sailed to Europe. Mr. Bullard settled in Paris and became a boxer. He enlisted in the French military when Germany attacked France at the beginning of WWI. Eugene was assigned to the French Foreign Legion and was a machine gunner. He served in Picardy, Artois, and Champagne. Air combat was brutal for his squadron, and many were shot down.

So, in 1915, Mr. Bullard was transferred to the 170th Infantry Regiment. He fought valiantly in the Battle of Verdun but was wounded and needed to recover from his injuries. As soon as he was able, he enrolled in the French Air Service and was back in the air. He quickly learned and mastered flight maneuvers that baffled the enemy and caught them by surprise. Eugene has a high reputation and encountered twenty combat missions and shot down at least two German planes. Unfortunately, this cannot be confirmed. It is because of his tenacious spirit that he was given the nickname “Black Swallow of Death.” The US entered WWI in April 1917, and Eugene requested to be transferred to the US Flying Corps. The website, MilitaryHistoryNow.com, says that Mr. Bullard was denied because the US did not permit negros to serve in the military. This didn’t stop Eugene; he continued to fly with the 170th regiment until the US government forbade him to serve in the French Air Service.

Mr. Bullard fought for the Allies in WWI bravely and defended his country honorably. While the US didn’t accept him as an airman, France did. The French military rewarded Eugene for his with the following military honors and awards, such as the Croix de Guerre, the Legion d’honneur, and Medaille Militaire.

After the close of WWI, Eugene worked in a nightclub and opened his own club in the early 1920’s. He married and had two children. With the onset of WWII, Mr. Bullard became a part of the French counterintelligence network to spy on the Germans who invaded France. Many of these enemy soldiers came to his tavern, and he’d overhear their conversations. Little did the German soldiers know that he was fluent in three languages, English, French, and German.

WWII was in full action, and Eugene proudly served in France’s Armed Forces. He fought and defended the city of Orleans but was severely wounded. He later moved back to the US and settled in NY with his daughters.

Once the second world war ended, the French government offered compensation to Mr. Bullard because he lost his business in the war. Eugene died in 1961 but never received proper recognition from the US government until his biography was released in 1972. In 1994, the United States Air Force promoted him to honorary 2nd Lieutenant.

What Kind of Impact Did Fighter Pilots Have During WWI?

World War I was the first major war of the twentieth century. All nations involved in the war had ground troops, naval vessels, and the newest kind of defense through the air. Thanks to the Wright Brothers, who invented the first US airplane in December 1903.

Gustave Whitehead, a German Immigrant, is said to be the first person to invent and fly the motorized airplane in 1901. He designed a glider in 1897, which relied on a man below to steer the glider. The man beneath the glider held tethers allowing him to steer the glider. Whitehead proceeded to construct an airplane with wheels, an enclosed fuel tank, and an aluminum body. The Wright Brothers were also an ingenious pair of inventors. After observing birds, they established the notion of “wing warping” which used a moveable rudder to steer the plane. The body of their first plane, the Wright Brothers Flyer, was a combination of metal and wooden parts with muslin fabric covering the entire wingspan. However, depending on who you talk to, the first person who invented the airplane in America is up for debate. In any case, the invention of the airplane at the turn of the century changed the world, and warfare forever.

The lifespan of a fighter pilot was only a few weeks. The planes they flew did not have an enclosed cockpit which meant they were exposed to the harsh elements. Planes were not equipped with parachutes either because they were too bulky, and the parachute bag would not fit in the cockpit with the pilot. USAWW1.com (https://www.usaww1.com/World_War_1_Fighter_Pilots.php4) says that back then, it was also believed that parachutes showed a sign of weakness and encouraged the pilot to jump, instead of trying to land the plane safely. However, that perspective changed once the commanders realized that competent and experienced pilots were hard to come by.

One of the strategies used by all nations involved in the war were reconnaissance missions. These missions highly favored because the aerial photos that were taken helped pilots track and follow enemy trenches. Performing this kind of task was not easy. The pilot had to have a steady hand on the controls and fly in an even, straight line while the photographer took the pictures. Unfortunately, reconnaissance missions were especially dangerous because the fighter was an easy target for the enemy. However, these photos provided the pilots with invaluable information so that they could accurately identify their targets. Reconnaissance photography was especially useful during bombing raids.

As WWI progressed, so did the development of the fighter plane. At the beginning of the war, the planes did not have weapons, but many pilots had a few grenades with them on board. But this was not profitable because it was challenging to fly a plane and defend it. Within a year of the beginning of the war, fighter planes were equipped with machine guns to fight off opposing forces. The guns were in the front of the plane and required an extra pair of hands and eyes. Another machine gun was introduced, one that hesitated. Why was this significant? This was an ingenious invention because the hesitation allowed the weapon to fire through the propellers of the airplanes and cause more damage to the enemy.

Some of the best pilots of the day used their wit and flying skills to defeat the enemy they encountered. The pilots who fought during WWI were brave, cunning, intelligent, fearless, and many fighter pilots defied death multiple times. These soldiers were the bravest of the brave and fought to defend their country.

Aramid – The Unique Fabric of the Nomex Flight Suit

The Nomex Flight Suit is an essential uniform that protects hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women in the US military. DuPont developed the fibers for the Nomex material in the early 1960’s. The fibers consist of para-aramid and meta-aramid fibers. The combination of these durable, flame-retardant fibers is found in bullet-proof vests, firefighter uniforms, flight suits for pilots and crewmembers, as well as a variety of other forms of body armor and safety gear.

The word aramid is derived from two words, “aromatic” and “polyamide.” Aramid material is synthetic and has many molecules that are linked together and form “chains.” You have heard the quote, “there is strength in numbers.” Well, the same applies here. Aramid fibers consist of chains that have many molecules within in the chain. The strand of molecules provides remarkable strength to the aramid fabric.

Three primary companies manufacture this material around the world. These companies include DuPont, which is here in the US, Teijin, a Japanese corporation, and Kolon Industries in South Korea. The most familiar brands that are common in America are Kevlar and Nomex. Unfortunately, there are conflicting dates about when Kevlar and Nomex materials were discovered. However, what we do know is that Aramid did not dissolve quickly in liquid. DuPont wanted to make this material more useful for the public, and a DuPont research scientist named Stephanie Kwolek is responsible for discovering the lyotropic liquid crystalline aramid material. She and Mr. Paul Morgan incorporated ways to dissolve the amines and acids in different liquids. They used very low temperatures during their experiments. Once the aramid material was finalized, Ms. Kwolek invented a unique spinning process that kept the material light-weight, as well as durable. This para-aramid composition of substances became known as Kevlar.

Nomex, on the other hand, is made of the meta-aramid fibers. These fibers have an incredible tolerance for heat up to 572˚F or 300˚C. According to the Aramid.eu website, Aramid does not become brittle, or melt when exposed to such temperatures. Another outstanding characteristic of these fibers is that they do not melt and are “self-extinguishing” when in contact with normal oxygen levels. The fibers in the Nomex material are twice as strong as fiberglass or nylon, and it’s five times stronger than steel. The meta-aramid material also resists organic substances. When exposed to high temperatures as mentioned above, Nomex maintains its strength and keeps military personnel and civilian public servants safe.

Some other uses for the aramid fabric are snowboards, sailing cloth, asbestos replacement, fiber-optic cables, and electrical insulation. Aramid fibers are also used for various forms of sporting goods, like hockey sticks, in addition to reeds for wind instruments, and engine enclosures for airliners.

Aramid is a unique combination of fibers that make the Nomex Flight Suit flame-resistant with material that has a high melting point. Another essential quality of this product is that it is lightweight with solid durability. These characteristics of the flight suit are critical for the protection and comfort of the men and women who wear this article of clothing while serving in our armed forces.

Famous Women and Their Role During the Civil War

The Civil War was one of the worst wars in American history because it claimed so many lives, including soldiers, as well as civilians. This war was a turning point and the deciding factor that determined the union or division of the States. Our school’s textbooks sing the praises of some famous people who served in that war. Men, such as General Lee, General Grant, and Colonel Singleton, and women who nursed the wounded and sick, such as Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman was instrumental in helping Slaves make their way north through the Underground Railroad.

There are other equally famous women that you may not know much about who played an integral part during the Civil War. These courageous and resourceful women were spies, soldiers,humanitarian organizers, and smugglers.Some of these women were Belle Boyd, Sarah Edmonds, and Dorthea Dix.

Isabelle “Belle” Boyd was born to a very wealthy family in West Virginia. When the Union soldiers had come to her family’s estate, she used her wits and charm to obtain enemy information. Then, Belle transposed it into a secret code and had messages sent to General Stonewall Jackson, with whom her father was serving. When one of the soldiers insulted her mother, she shot him. On another occasion, Ms. Boyd hid in an upstairs closet in her aunt’s house. Union soldiers had made the residence their headquarters for a time. She rode her horse for 15 miles at night and took the information to a Confederate Colonel.The Union soldiers captured and jailed Belle for transporting the secret codes to the “enemy.”Ms. Boyd was a fearless young woman and was a great asset to the Confederate soldiers.

Sarah Edmonds was a Canadian who was a “runaway” because she did not approve of her pending arranged marriage. She disguised herself as a man and crossed the border into the US. Ms. Edmonds changed her name to Frank Thompson and sold books for a time before enlisting in the Union Army. At that time, the army did not require physical exams. Her identity was safe, at least for a while, since she had a deep voice and short hair. Although she was of small build, it was to her advantage that she had masculine mannerisms. Unfortunately, in 1963, Ms. Edmonds became very ill. Sarah did not want to be discovered, so she deserted the army. After many years had passed and she was a marriedwoman with her own family, the US government pardoned her for her desertion and gave her a pension.

Dorthea Dix was a renowned nurse in her region for improving insane asylums. Soon, she took on the oversight and management of the war hospitals and infirmary camps. Ms. Dix was sixty years old when she witnessed the nurses tending the Union men in horrid conditions Dorthea was determined to provide much-needed assistance and guidance in their mission. She also took it upon herself and toured the North learning that the hospitals were in grave disrepair, were understaffed, and lacked necessary supplies. As soon as she discovered these deplorable conditions, she spoke to the surgeon general directly.Dorthea also implemented better meal preparations through food drives, for the wounded that were in the nurses’ care. Ms. Dix took caring for the soldiers seriously and immediately dischargedany doctor who was drunk while on duty, as well as having them court-martialed. She was a dedicated and genuine woman who frequently was found sleeping on the floor of her home because she gave her bed and other rooms to the nurses. Once the Civil War ended, she began caring for the mentally challenged once again.

Some other famous women who served both sides of the Civil War include Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, a humanitarian for equality, Loreta Velazquez who was a Confederate soldier and fought in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862 and Mary Frances Battle, who was also a Confederate spy and smuggler. If you would like additional information about these and other brave women during the Civil War, please see the following websites, History.com and the Middle Tennessee State University website.

Military Flight Doctor

The History of Military Flight Doctors

The history of medicine dates back thousands of years during the ancient civilizations in China and Egypt. Medicine has progressed significantly throughout the ages and continues to make strides through scientific research. However, it wasn’t until the invention of flight that physicians had the opportunity of tending to the sick who were in different regions of a country.

It seems like people have been obsessed with flight since the dawn of time, but only the brave made many attempts to replicate flight. In fact, some individuals designed “wings” out of various materials, but the inventions always failed. Unfortunately, the inventors either succumbed to their death or were severely injured from their falls. Doctors who treated these men are some of the first doctors to practice “Aerospace Medicine.” During these examinations, physicians determined that their patients often suffered from hypoxia. Hypoxia is when the body does not receive adequate oxygen, which is transported via the bloodstream, to tissues and other organs of the body.

The first hot air balloon took flight in 1783 in Paris. According to GoFlightMedicine.com, the balloon rose 3,000 feet into the air for a total of 25 minutes. Thus, began the history of aviation. In the following year, two doctors, Dr. John Shelton from Great Britain, and Dr. John Jeffries from the US recorded physiologic responses that the pilot had in flight. During this time, another American physician by the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush discovered that one of the first signs of hypoxia is an elevated heart rate.

Two men are recognized as the “Father of Aviation Medicine.” In no significant order, the first was a French physiologist, Paul Bert and the other gentleman was US Brigadier General Theodore Lyster. Mr. Bert conducted hundreds of experiments to determine how flight affected the human body. He also invented the hypobaric chamber which was used to simulate heights of 36,000 feet. He used this device to determine how higher elevations gravely reduced oxygen in the body. Paul strongly advised pilots to use supplemental oxygen when flying. General Lyster was instrumental in establishing a set of standards for selecting US pilots. He came from a physiological standpoint and wanted to ensure that pilots were healthy enough to withstand the physical demands they face in the air. Theodore was the first man to create the idea of a flight surgeon. At that time, during World War I, the primary function of a flight surgeon was to care for the pilot and those in the aircraft. In 1917, General Lyster became the first Chief Surgeon, Aviation Section, for the US Army and later in his career; he founded the Air Service Medical Research Laboratory.

In 1922, Dr. Louis Bauer began the Army of School of Aviation Medicine, and in 1926, he published the textbook, Aviation Medicine. That same year, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Air Commerce Act of 1926 into law. Two years later, Dr. Bauer and a host of other physicians established the Aero Medical Association of the United States. The purpose of this association was to evaluate civilian pilots according to the medical standards that were implemented by the aviation medical examiners. These standards are still being used today to assess pilots.

When a service person was injured during the Vietnam War, it took 45 days to return that soldier to the US and receive proper care. As you can imagine, 75 percent of the wounded soldiers survived, and the US lost many soldiers because of this. Thankfully, there have been outstanding improvements in ensuring that our men and women in enemy territories receive the proper treatment in flight back to the US. Now, the Air Force has a serviceperson in the US within three days, no matter where they are in the world with a survival rate of 98 percent. And unlike the past, when the flight surgeon was primarily looking out for the welfare of the pilot, now planes are staffed with a full medical team, including an intensive care doctor. Most of the physicians wear the flight suit uniform while on this kind of mission, even if they are not a trained pilot. The aircraft are also furnished with proper medical equipment to address physiological changes for safe treatments while the patient is in flight.

As you can see, there is a rich history behind flight doctors. They are an essential part of the military and do everything in their power to ensure that soldiers come home to the US safely so that they can receive proper care upon arrival in the States.