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Firebase medicine: extending the Role I aid station
  1. Ramey L Wilson1,2 and
  2. A G Truesdell3
  1. 1Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA
  2. 2Assistant Professor of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  3. 3Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  1. Correspondence to Lt Col Ramey L Wilson, Department of Medicine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889, USA; ramey.wilson{at}


The unique nature of counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan highlights the tactical and technical challenges of the non-contiguous battlefield. Although remote military outposts distant from their support hubs help project NATO power, they also operate without the advantages of a secure rear area or interior lines of communication. Commonly referred to as ‘firebases’, these outposts typically house a platoon or company-sized element and present numerous challenges to the delivery of medical care and support. Medical planners and providers can mitigate many of these inherent risks through targeted interventions designed to increase the capabilities of these remote outposts. These interventions include focused higher-level trauma and non-trauma medical training for both medical and non-medical personnel, expanded equipment lists, ongoing medical education, training and rehearsals, and a proven and redundant communications plan.


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