Aeromedical Evacuation, the Expeditionary Medicine Learning Curve, and the Peacetime Effect

Andrew Hall*, Cara Olsen, William Dribben, Jacob Glaser, Matthew Hanson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Organizational proficiency increases with experience, which is known as a learning curve. A theoretical peacetime effect occurs when knowledge and skills degrade during peacetime. In this study, the intertheater evacuation system was examined for evidence of a military learning curve and peacetime effect. Materials and Methods: Data on medical evacuations from U.S. Central Command occurring between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2022, were acquired from the TRANSCOM Regulating and Command & Control Evacuation System. Priority mission evacuation time corresponding to peak periods of activity in Iraq and Afghanistan and minimal activity in Afghanistan was analyzed. Any reduction or increase in the delivery time of casualties would be considered a change in proficiency. Results: There was a marginal monthly decline of 0.019 days (27.4 min) to perform a priority evacuation from Iraq (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.009 to 0.028 days, P < .001) and a decline of 0.010 days (14.4 min) from Afghanistan (95% CI, 0.003 to 0.016 days, P = .004) over 40 months from peak monthly average times. There was a monthly marginal increase in priority evacuation average time from Afghanistan of 0.008 days (11.5 min) (95% CI, 0.005 to 0.011, P < .001) between January 2013 and December 2020. The number of monthly evacuations estimated to maintain or improve monthly average evacuation time is approximately 50. Conclusions: An intertheater aeromedical evacuation system increased in proficiency during periods of conflict and declined during relative peacetime. There is evidence of a peacetime effect on intertheater aeromedical evacuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E843-E847
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes


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