Flying directly from its home station in Vicenza, Italy, the 173rd Airborne Brigade committed itself to the invasion of Iraq on the night of March 26, 2003. Representing the establishment of a northern front, approximately 1,000 paratroopers jumped into an isolated valley on a mission to secure and to hold the Bashur airstrip. This article describes the unique challenges of medical preparation for the mission, injuries sustained on the jump, and lessons learned. Emphasis is placed on the use of a policy of delayed evacuation until clarification of diagnosis.
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