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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

VAC says they did not expect the number of wounded....

Veterans Affairs Canada says it was not prepared for the number of wounded troops......

In an interview with the Calgary Herald Minister Blackburn admits that VAC was unprepared and yet I have included a document that I wrote on potential casualties of the task force in 2008.
Wounded Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan await helicopter evacuation. [PHOTO: CPL. ROBIN MUGRIDGE]
Canadian Wounded soldier awaiting EVAC in Kandahar 2008

CALGARY - 


"Acknowledging Canada was not prepared to meet the needs of young soldiers returning from Afghanistan, federal Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said proposed updates to the new Veterans Charter will address some of veterans biggest criticisms of their benefits.


But some veterans say the changes aren't going far enough, while others fear the Harper government will be toppled before Bill C-55 - and its extra supports for soldiers - is passed.
"Based on what I have read about them and what I heard last night, the changes are most definitely an improvement," said Cochrane veteran Lloyd Leugner, with the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association.


"Until we see these young soldiers return from Afghanistan well looked after and well cared for, I don't know."


Last fall, veterans across the country protested the Veterans Charter.
Their main beefs were a switch to lump sum disability payments of up to $276,000 and concerns over rehabilitation benefits being based on pre-injury pay which worked out to only $26,000 for some low-ranking soldiers.


After meeting with dozens of Calgary veterans, Blackburn said the 2005 Veterans Charter has flaws.
Canadian Air Evacuation nursing liasion oOfficer Karen Brown assists the U.S. military aeromedical evacuation team in the loading patients onto a C-17 aircraft bound for the United States from Ramstein Air Force Base. At Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany, Brown and a team of seven other Canadian soldiers form the backbone of Canada's effort to bring our wounded home.
TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR
"This department was not ready for the soldiers who are coming back from Afghanistan. We were not ready," Blackburn said in Calgary Wednesday.

"It is for that now we are doing quick steps to make sure we adapt our services to their needs," he added.


In terms of lump sum payments, Bill C-55 will allow veterans the choice of receiving disability fees all at once or spread out over a few years or a few decades.
Minimum salaries of $40,000 a year for injured soldiers completing rehabilitation, and $58,000 a year for those too injured to return to the workforce have also been established as part of an extra $2-billion in veterans supports.
Twenty new case managers have been put in place to help deliver services, with a push to streamline application procedures and have more young veterans themselves working within the department.


With some veterans facing poverty and homelessness, not everyone is convinced Blackburn has gone far enough.


"It's just a Band-Aid fix to the systematic failure of veterans affairs," said Airdrie peacekeeping veteran Donald Leonardo, who runs a social networking site for veterans called veteransofcanada.ca.


Blackburn's success on cutting red tape is also dependant on co-operation from the Department of National Defence, said retired reservist Darrell Knight.
"I gave my working life to the military . . . and DND lost my records," Knight said of challenges he's had getting benefits for a 1977 Jeep training accident he was involved in.
"I think Blackburn has his heart in the right place, but I'm disappointment with the government. Those agencies of the government who would help us have been (undermined) by other agencies like DND," Knight said.
Bill C-55 is only the first step to addressing veterans concerns, but it is a good place to start, said Blackburn.


He said he hopes the bill can be passed before an election is called.
"Our veterans should not be part of any political game. Our veterans need our support now," Blackburn said.
smcginnis@calgaryherald.com

Read more: 
http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Veterans+have+doubts+about+proposed+improved+benefits/4174361/story.html#ixzz1CDP9ooTY




And yet in 2008 I was working at Land Forces Western Area and sent various memos and briefing notes predicting and showcasing the number of fallen and wounded from operations in Afghanistan.



CAS SUPPORT BRIEFING NOTE:  Potential Casualty Rates for Task Force 1-08
AIM
The purpose of this BN is to provide LFWA with a representative statistical analysis of potential casualty rates for Task Force 1- 08.  The hope is that from this we can develop a plan for our civilian hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals to use this knowledge in planning for potential casualties during the period of Feb 2008 to June 2008.

BACKGROUND

The Casualty Support position was devised to help give insight into the needs of casualties and also to continue to tell the story of the wounded soldier to civilian and military assets.  LFWA has been the lead in new policy changes in regards to care of the wounded and care of the fallen.  

I have broken the numbers down into two categories. The first is the potential number of soldiers that will leave the wire and using the casualty rates from the past and the second is the total number of troops serving in an area of operations.  The vast number of combat injuries over the last 11 tours of duty in Afghanistan has occurred to those soldiers that work and/ or live outside the wire.  Not to diminish the dangers of all troops on the ground in Afghanistan the troops that leave the safety of the main base are the ones that are at the most risk and this BN is discussing their concerns. A quick note about numbers, as all med files are held by Ottawa a precise number can not be gained unless from personal experience and the numbers who have served in Afghan are also approx but are considered a “best guess”.

pastedGraphic.pdf
Capt Finbarr at the moment of being shot in the shoulder in Arghandab 2008.
DISCUSSION POINTS


Over the timeline of 2002 to Jan 2008 Canada has had:
Table 1    Numbers of Injuries and Deaths from Afghanistan

Number of Injuries and Deaths
Total (deleted)
Deaths

Severely Wounded

Major Limb Amputees

Head Injury

Wounded

Psych Injury (PTSD, CSR, etc)



Table 2  (deleted)
This next table shows the number of casualties from table 1 and now places them within the context of the Combat Troops.  The resulting ratio refers to the potential casualty rates over a 6 month tour of duty in Kandahar if the risks to the troops stay the same.  Obviously each mission holds different risks for each group tour of duty.  Task force 1 – 08 is taking on several new missions and it could be argued that the troops will be at a higher risk than previous tours. This table is based on the historical numbers of combat troops in Afghanistan from the period of 2002 to 2008 (4360 combat troops). The numbers have been rounded off for clarity sake.
Table 3     Ratio of potential casualties and Risk Ratios for troops serving on Task Force 1 -08

Category

Risk Ratios
Category
Total
Deaths

1 - 56
Deaths
9
Severely Wounded

1 - 218
Severely Wounded
2
Major Limb Amputees

1 - 872
Major Limb Amputees
1
Head Injury

1 - 436
Head Injury
1
Wounded

1 - 11
Wounded
46
Psych Injury (PTSD, CSR, etc)

1 - 1.2
Psych Injury (PTSD, CSR, etc)
401
Table 4    Ratio of potential casualties and risk ratios for troops serving on Task Force 1-08
But Based on casualties suffered in the timeline 2006 to 2008  (2100 combat troops)

Category

Risk Ratios
Category
Total
Deaths

1 – 30
Deaths
9
Severely Wounded

1 - 105
Severely Wounded
2
Major Limb Amputees

1 -420
Major Limb Amputees
1
Head Injury

1 - 210
Head Injury
1
Wounded

1 - 5
Wounded
46
Psych Injury (PTSD, CSR, etc)

1 - 1.2
Psych Injury (PTSD, CSR, etc)
401
CONCLUSION 
The conclusion that we can make for the deployment of Task Force 1 – 08 to the Kandahar region is that they will suffer casualty rates that are equal if not higher to the historical perspective.  We need to ensure that there is enough trained AO’s, padres are prepared, the units are expecting the return and future employment of these wounded soldiers, and the medical system from the military side and the civilian is prepared for the casualties as they come home.

What we have seen in the historical context of casualty rates in the south is the direct correlation with time spent “outside the wire”.  As this tour has many initiatives including a POMLET and a very robust OMLET the strain on service support shouldn’t be underestimated and it’s my belief that we will see a greater number of casualties in service support as they travel from FOB to FOB on open and hard packed ground.  The members of the POMLET and OMLET are all in realization of the dangers of the missions and are well prepared to
take part in this new and exciting mission.

RECOMMENDATION 

Based on the above tables we should see the same number of casualties as in the past, at a minimum,  thus all units and areas affected by the tour of duty of task force 1-08 should be prepared.  The risk levels as the mission will be changing from previous missions and thus the risk rates will be going up and as such so will the number and outlook of casualties.
    Prepared by: MCpl Paul Franklin Cas Sup G1, LFWA
    Reviewed by: (deleted)
    Date prepared: 21 January 2008

    1 comment:

    1. Pathetic. What then were they expecting, both times I was there as a long retired ex military civy people were dieing and being injured on a constant basis. Ostriches with heads stuck in the sand comes to mind....but I would not expect anything more out of Ottawa based upon my work(or lack there of) experinces there. I remember the deplorable way Bruce Henwood was treated in the mid 1990s. Good luck my friend, you and your fellow injured soldiers are going to need it. MM, Edmonton

      ReplyDelete