Casualty evacuation, also known as CASEVAC or by the callsignDustoff, is a military term for the emergency patient evacuation of casualties from a combat zone. Casevac can be done by both ground and air. Casevacs by air today are almost exclusively done by helicopter, a practice begun on a small scale toward the end of World War II; before that, STOL aircraft, such as the Fieseler Fi 156 or Piper J-3 were used. Casevac aircraft are a non standardized and non dedicated vehicle, that does not necessarily have en route care which is used to get a casualty back to another location where they can be treated by professional medical staff.
The primary difference between a CASEVAC and a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) is that a MEDEVAC uses a standardized and dedicated vehicle providing en route care. On the other hand, CASEVAC uses non standardized and non dedicated vehicles that do not provide en route care. The service exists to transport casualties that are in dire need for evacuation from the battlefield and do not have time to wait on a MEDEVAC, or where a MEDEVAC is unable to get to the casualty.
"Dust Off" was the tactical call sign for medical evacuation missions first used in 1963 by Major Lloyd E. Spencer, Commander of the U. S. Army 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance). The name lasted the rest of the war. Typically Air ambulances would lift wounded soldiers to a hospital setting in less than an hour after being wounded. Flying into an active landing... Read More