Assumption of Command

11 May 2005

Watching Waiting

Major D At Firepower Forward, in the 'Stan, tells a story that is very typical of office types, like me, get the bad news of War.

9 Lines:
A 9-line is a standard radio format to request medical evacuation.
[...]
The big flat screen television in the operations center resembles a teenager’s compute monitor at any given time with multiple text chat message windows open at any given time and even though they are all encrypted and secure, most of the time the messages that flicker across are just as benign. Not this time. I read the last message “TRINITY: Stand by for 9 line.”
[...]
“TRINITY: Line 3 – 2 critical.” Now I was worried. This line was supposed to be the number of patients by precedence.

It wasn’t only the word “Critical” that concerned me, but the fact that they had used it. There are only five different words that should be used here, each with a specific meaning to the medics as to the severity of the injuries.
[...]
TRINITY: “2 US KIA”

And just that quickly, all of our hopes vanished.

Overcome with frustration and helplessness, I stepped out the back door to collect myself.
That really sucks. Just sitting there when there is nothing you can do but wait and listen. It is so frustrating.

Go read the whole thing, it is very well written.

(Via BlackFive)