Just south of Mosul, Iraq, is located a military base — currently a U.S. Army facility called the Logistical Support Area (LSA) — that has been alternately controlled by the U.S. military, Islamic State, Iraqi Security Forces, and even NATO, over the course of the past handful of years.  The base is currently being used to support joint Iraqi-U.S. combat operations against ISIS in Mosul, and one of the more critical elements of that support is a Role II medical facility with the mission of treating wounded Americans (and Iraqis).

A U.S. military “Role II” facility denotes a “forward resuscitative surgery facility” to treat wounded servicemen and women in the combat zone.  Think of a “M.A.S.H.” hospital from the old TV show, for lack of a better example.  It is a deployed surgical facility, in a war zone, staffed by the full spectrum of surgical staff, and usually located on a forward-deployed military base.  It is where the wounded first arrive after being injured in battle, and where they are surgically and medically stabilized before being sent on to a Role III (Bagram) facility, and beyond, to Germany and the United States.

On this particular base, the U.S. Navy’s Role II combat trauma medical facility sits at the corner of the flight line and a newly-named road, “Frank Butler Blvd.”  This past November, the road was named for retired Navy SEAL and physician, Captain Frank K. Butler, for his pioneering contributions to Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).

CAPT (Ret.) Frank K. Butler (photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

Butler, who served in the early 1970s in both the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and the SEAL Teams, went on to become a medical doctor in the Navy’s Medical Corps, and was one of the pioneers of what later came to be known as TCCC.  The system of procedures, battlefield interventions, treatments, and protocols that make up TCCC are credited with saving thousands of lives in the past 15-plus years of American combat.