A little known piece of history is that one of the earliest proponents of modern day helicopter rescue and medical evacuation is credited to le General Valerie Andre, a French doctor and highly decorated helicopter pilot.
le General Valerie Andre began her career in 1948, entering the service as a pilot, parachutist and army surgeon. During her service, she connected the utility of a vertical lift platform to urgent medical care. In 1951, she piloted an aircraft during a conflict in Vietnam to pick up casualties in urgent need of care. She is credited with 165 more sorties in that conflict and a total of 365 combat missions in Algeria and other nations and was promoted to general in 1981 for her actions and service.
Thanks to pioneers such as le General Andre, we have modern combat casualty evacuation and combat search and rescue. While le General never earned a pilot certificate, she has over 4000 hrs in helicopters and 7 citations of the croix de guerre.
Watch her flying here– what an incredibly courageous and visionary leader.