Bad news for wilderness travelers in Alaska

We all hate it, but its forced upon us. Any local political issues we should know about ??

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Bad news for wilderness travelers in Alaska

#1 Post by cleary » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:53 am

The following is an email I just received. I have observed or been involved in several MAST operations. This is an invaluable service to those of us who travel in Alaska. It will be a sad day when the Blackhawks with the red cross on them disappear from the Alaska Skies.


As many of you are probably aware, the Army has notified Governor Palin that
as of July of this year, the MAST Program in Alaska will no longer exist. I
don't have to tell you how important this program is to the health and
welfare of the people of Interior Alaska.

It is not just the civilian MAST Program that is being lost. The MAST
Program exists because the Army needs to provide helicopter medevac for
soldiers training and serving in remote areas in Interior Alaska. The MAST
Program uses that equipment and personnel, and functions as part of the
training component of the military mission. It is my understanding that the
entire medical helicopter capability is being removed from Ft. Wainwright,
and therefore, the MAST Program along with it. It is also my understanding
that the Army intends to try to find a private medical helicopter
contractor, but for military support only. That is their intention, but I
am skeptical that there are the necessary capabilities within the civilian
sector for the remote and difficult missions they encounter.

I'm not sure exactly how best to express our concerns and try to reverse
this decision, but if you are concerned about this, please contact the
Governor and our Congressional Delegation (addresses below) with your
concerns. In addition, contact your state legislators and ask your
organization and local government to pass a resolution in support of the
MAST Program, and have that resolution sent to the Governor and
Congressional Delegation. Finally, spread the word to your friends,
neighbors and colleagues that will be impacted by this decision and ask them
to do the same.

Some important points to emphasize are included below.

Thank you for your help in this important matter. If you have any
questions, please do not hesitate to call.

Dan Johnson
Chair - Civilian MAST Coordinating Committee
Executive Director - Interior Region EMS Council, Inc.
2503 18th Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99709
Phone: (907) 456-3978
Fax: (907) 456-3970


The Honorable Sarah Palin
Governor of Alaska
State Capitol Building
PO Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
United States Senate
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Ted Stevens
United States Senate
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Don Young
United States Congress
2111 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515

Points to make:

MAST equipment and personnel do not represent an additional expense to the
Army. The MAST Program utilizes aircraft and personnel that are on hand to
provide necessary medical support to troops in Alaska, especially those
training in remote locations.

Throughout the history of the Alaskan MAST Program, many deployments and
overseas training missions have taken place. The Army has always maintained
medical helicopter capability at Ft. Wainwright during these times to serve
soldiers and the public.

Any training or equipment used in these missions that is not routinely
supplied by the Army is provided through the support of the Interior Region
EMS Council, the State of Alaska, and others. We have provided Alaska and
National Registry certified EMT courses, civilian communications equipment,
pediatric equipment, advanced cardiac equipment and other training and

MAST mission flight hours represent necessary pilot and crew training,
therefore not causing any additional expense.

This is extremely valuable training for pilots and crew. The extreme
geography, weather, and other difficult conditions are excellent training
for not only the Alaskan military mission, but also service in war zones.

The Army helicopter crews provide military and civilian service in extremely
remote and rugged places, under extreme weather conditions, and utilizing
night vision and other highly technical capabilities. There is no service
that we are aware of that can perform the military or civilian service under

The MAST mission has saved many lives in Alaska and we do not believe there
is any civilian service that can replace it.

Add any other specific examples that you are aware of.

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