An eight-person team of conventional US Air Force (USAF) medical providers deployed to support US Special Operations Forces (SOF) in North and West Africa for the first time in November 2014. The predeployment training, operations while deployed, and lessons learned from the challenges of performing surgery and medical evacuations in the remote desert environment of Chad and Niger on the continent of Africa are described. The vast area of operations and far-forward posture of these teams requires cooperation between partner African nations, the French military, and SOF to make these medical teams effective providers of surgical and critical care in Africa. The continuous deployment of conventional USAF medical providers since 2014 in support of US Special Operations Command Africa is challenging and will benefit from more medical teams and effective air assets to provide casualty evacuation across the vast area of operations.
Keywords: US Special Operations Command North and West Africa; far-forward surgery; conventional US Air Force; Mobile Field Surgical Team; Niamey, Niger; N'Dhamena, Chad; CASEVAC; Boko Haram; al-Qaeda I the Islamic Maghreb; French Military