New Agreement Between IDF and U.S. Air Force Will Help Save Lives

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)

Members of the Israeli humanitarian mission to Haiti rescue a man from a collapsed building. (Photo: IDF)
Members of the Israeli humanitarian mission to Haiti rescue a man from a collapsed building. (Photo: IDF)

An agreement signed Wednesday (Feb. 5) between the IDF Medical Corps and the American Air Force Medical Department will enable both sides to work more closely together, sharing and developing techniques and technologies that will save lives on the battlefield and during humanitarian rescue missions.

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General (Dr.) Thomas W. Travis with IDF Chief Medical Officer, Brig. Gen. (Prof.) Yitzhak Kreiss. (Photo: IDF Spokesman)
U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General (Dr.) Thomas W. Travis with IDF Chief Medical Officer, Brig. Gen. (Prof.) Yitzhak Kreiss. (Photo: IDF Spokesman)

At the conclusion of U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General (Dr.) Thomas W. Travis’s week long visit in Israel, during which he was exposed to the diverse and professional activities of the IDF Medical Corps and the Israel Air Force, a Terms of Reference (TOR) agreement was signed between the two parties. The agreement lays the foundation for deep and ongoing cooperation between the U.S. Air force and the IDF in areas of aviation medicine, mental health, academics and research.

At a briefing on Thursday, IDF Chief Medical Officer, Brig. Gen. (Prof.) Yitzhak Kreiss, spoke about his personal experience in working with U.S. medical forces. “We share knowledge and experience in terms of humanitarian missions and disaster management. I commanded the IDF’s Haiti field hospital in 2010. When the US Navy ship deployed there, they became a major asset in the area,” he said. “We evacuated patients to the US ship.” That is just one example of cooperation, Brig. Gen. Kreiss said. “

We have worked together, side by side, in humanitarian missions across the world.”

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The two sides bring their own unique advantages to the table in the agreement. “Americans have the advantage of size and scale,” said Brig. Gen. Kreiss. “They do the heaviest scientific work in trying to prove that a technology is evidence-based and cost-effective, and can be implemented on the battlefield. The Israeli advantage is that we are a relatively small medical corps, which is deployed 24/7 at hundreds of points, with a paramedic deployed in each battalion. If you want to test something, deploy or test a technology, we do it relatively simply. While the U.S. forces are often first to develop new technologies, what we can give back is deployment of those technologies quickly. The Americans learn from and use the knowledge that we have gained.”

“In my 25 years of experience in the IDF Medical Corps, the collaboration between us and the U.S. military is the deepest it has ever been,” Brig. Gen. Kreiss said. “Our collaboration is based on true partnership, friendship, and most importantly, on shared values.”


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