In May 1999, then-Lt. Col. David Goldfein's F-16CJ fighter jet was rocked by the explosion of a surface-to-air missile during a mission during the Kosovo War. Ejecting from his aircraft, the future Air Force Chief of Staff landed in a ravine and evaded Serbian fighters until he was rescued by a combat search and rescue team, according to the Washington Post; he was just one of two pilots shot downed as part of Operation Allied Force during the short conflict.
More than two decades after Goldfein's harrowing ordeal, the Air Force is exploring a more elegant option for future combat rescue missions: an unmanned system that, air-dropped onto the battlefield, is capable of whisking downed pilots and other wounded service members out of dangerous territory, Aviation Week reports.
Call it Uber for medevac — just without the surge prices.
U.S Army/Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery
The four Army Special Forces personnel killed by ISIS militants in Niger last year as part of the Department of Defense’s deepening counterterrorism fight across Africa are unlikely to be the last U.S. service members to die in combat there. That is, unless the Pentagon invests heavily in its rapid-response medical and casualty evacuation efforts across the continent — a prospect that seems deeply unlikely.