Congress Takes Notice of a Humanitarian Hero and His Groundbreaking System
n May 19, 2022, The United States Congress approved an approximately $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine to help the country defend against Russia’s continued invasion.
Almost half of the aid provides $19 billion for immediate military support:
- Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI, $6 billion) - Special fund provides training, equipment, weapons, logistic support, supplies and services, salaries and stipends, sustainment, and intelligence support to Ukraine's military and national security forces.
- Replenishment of U.S. weapons stocks ($9 billion) - Provides money for DOD to replace items sent to Ukraine in the past or the future.
- Foreign Military Financing Program ($4 billion) - Allows Ukraine and other countries to buy new military equipment.
Other fund distributions include $3.9 billion to sustain U.S. forces deployed to Europe, $16 billion for economic support to Ukraine, global humanitarian relief, and $2 billion for long-term support to NATO allies and DOD modernization programs.
Combined with previous announcements of U.S. aid to Ukraine, the new funding has brought U.S. assistance to more than $50 billion since February 2022.
As generous as this humanitarian aid package is, there seems to be an element missing–medical supplies and equipment. There should be a political mindset that for every bullet donated, a corresponding bandage must accompany it. However, medical supplies and rescue equipment to aid civilians trapped in crosshairs are noticeably absent from these aid packages.
U.S. healthcare providers have stepped forward to fill this humanitarian void. Companies such as Cleveland Clinic are donating more than 15 pallets of medical supplies. Columbus, Md-based-MedStar Health is donating $2 million in medical supplies. And Yale New Haven Health in Connecticut is committing $1 million in medical supplies. All these supplies and equipment have gone to Ukraine on pallets.
As generous as the medical supplies are, there is still a need for search and rescue equipment to help quickly airlift wounded civilians and warfighters to treatment facilities. However, the most valuable and cutting-edge search and rescue equipment can’t be shipped by a pallet for distribution–nobody knows how to operate it. That’s where Vita’s CEO has distinguished himself by performing a truly heroic act of bravery and compassion.
Caleb Carr, Vita’s CEO, knew his company’s Vita Rescue System (VRS) could airlift wounded in 2 minutes; not the traditional 20 minutes it takes conventional methods. He also realized that Russia has an easy target every minute a rescue helicopter is in the air. So using the VRS would dramatically reduce extraction time if he could train the Ukrainian medical crews on its use.
Working with the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Emergency Service, Caleb was able to secure a Russian Mil Mi-8 twin-turbine helicopter to conduct VRS MEDEVAC training in Uzhgorod for Ukrainian Special Aviation Unit crews. On April 11, 2022, he loaded the VRS system onto a rental car and proceeded from Poland to cross the border for training in a Ukrainian war zone. In under four hours, Caleb introduced cutting-edge rescue technology and trained Ukraine crews to conduct high-risk evacuation missions within a war zone.
Due to Caleb’s mission, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine formally requested 30 VRS systems to extend this MEDEVAC capability to their fire and rescue units on the eastern front.
In addition, on July 28, 2022, his heroics inspired eleven members of the United States Congress to send a signed letter to Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Jessica Lewis, and Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, James Hursch. The letter called their attention to the request by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine for “innovative American technology” rescue basket stabilization systems. The letter refers to the VRS as “a generational leap forward” and a “groundbreaking system.”
These eleven members of Congress have acknowledged the search and rescue equipment void found in other humanitarian aid packages and underscored an opportunity to provide new life-saving equipment for the Ukrainian emergency services. We applaud their efforts to urge their colleagues to get these rescue basket stabilization systems to Ukraine–as the letter clearly states, “without delay.”