Only one other military unit — the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne/Air Assault Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky — has adopted the casualty response system so far.
As part of the system, which Kotwal and his colleagues at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, have championed, all injuries are recorded and studied so that improvements can be made.
After 10 years of gathering data, he now feels confident that the efforts are responsible for the regiment’s historically low casualty rates.
Since 2001, the Rangers have suffered 419 combat casualties, with eight percent of these soldiers dying as a result.
That’s not statically different from the death rates of U.S. military ground troops in general. But when the researchers looked only at seriously wounded soldiers who weren’t killed in action, they found that just two percent died of their wounds after reaching a medical treatment facility. For other troops, that number is nearly six percent.
The researchers say the difference could be due in part to better medical care right away, on the battlefield. Among the 32 Ranger deaths, only one was potentially survivable — and that death occurred at the hospital, not on the battlefield.