READER REVIEWS:

Back matter
~~~~~~They fly into battles armed only with a rifle and a red cross... … whispering silent prayers for


courage as they work. Driven by a deep-seated compassion for human life, Medevac crews risked their lives


for their brothers in battle. Daring rescues, firefights, and courageous measures in the air and on the


ground pushed their abilities beyond limits to ensure soldiers saw their loved ones again. This is the

untold story of DUSTOFF - a company of National Guard lifesavers dedicated to a mission that moved

beyond the bounds of deployment, and outside the borders of Afghanistan. By recruiting civilian

paramedics from the west coast, the 168th GSAB Medevac Company set out to prove their training model

could save more lives of wounded soldiers than flight medics trained to the Army standard. Through

eyewitness accounts of bloody battles, hoists into dangerous terrain under fire, and investing

themselves to sheer exhaustion, they had one goal: bring our soldiers home alive. The Army's documented

results were staggering. The mortality rate of American, Coalition and civilian patients was cut in half

while they were in theater. After they departed Afghanistan, it rose 50% to where it was before. Returning

home from deployment, their battle continued. Armed with damning evidence and a memory-fueled passion

that led to face to face conflicts, they were marginalized and maligned. Undaunted, these men put their

careers at risk. They fought for fundamental changes to ensure our soldiers receive the best care

possible, forcing the Army's hand to finally do the right thing.



~~A story of vision & dedication, November 6, 2013 By E. Teves (Galt, CA) - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Kindle Edition)

"Emmett does a great job of telling the story of a dedicated group of people, who recognized the need to improve the antiquated way our brave men and women are cared for when being evacuated from the battlefield. Thanks to their persistentence the system is making a long overdue change. Thank you all....I salute you. Former 1/75 Ranger"


~~Excellent read!, October 19, 2013 By Mr. Mike - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Kindle Edition)

"Very simply, an interesting book by a superior man with phenomenal commitment to an exceptional mission saving lives under fire. Having worked for the government myself, I certainly appreciated the difficulties he had bucking a well intrenched system heavily adorned in tradition and pride, and the frustration encountered when positive change was resisted...even when it meant the difference between life and death for soldiers deployed in combat. Besides the nail-biting stories centered in Afghanistan, he describes the huge difficulty involved in getting policy makers to make the right decision to improve the quality of training for Medevac personnel...something that should have been a no-brainer. "The only thing harder than getting a new idea into a military mind is getting an old one out". (Liddell-Hart, English Military Theorist) Truly a study in guts and tenacity. Many a soldier and sailor owe their lives and wellbeing to the author and his peers. Don't get hung up in the little bit of technical medical and military jargon if you're not familiar with it. Just push past it. Get it. Read it. Well worth the price and effort!"


~~A Powerful Book..., September 15, 2013 By Kirk Gaston - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Paperback)

"Not just a story of the Afghan war, but of National Guardsman..."Citizen Soldiers" ... who brought not only their expertise and experience, but the courage to challenge the system and improve the standards of emergency care for the wounded and injured evacuated from the battlefield. It's a story of courage ,endurance and ethics. Inspirational for all readers...a must read for Guardsmen and Reservists serving in our Armed Forces!"


~~Great Read, August 25, 2013 By Maxie C. Santiago - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Paperback)

"This a compelling tale, told by those who have made sacrifices to serve our great nation. Emmett's story of service in Iraq and Afghanistan and how his police and paramedic training helped saved lives in combat is a must read. I highly recommend it!"


~~Amazing actual true story of sacrifice, May 20, 2014 By PATRICIA GREEN - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Kindle Edition)

"This is one of the best true story accounts of the sacrifices made by the men of the California National Guard Medic Units in Afganistan. SSG Spraktes account of what he and his team went through to save the lives of his fellow soldiers is spell binding. This soldier/California Hwy Patrol officer is a credit to his profession as a paramedic-patrol officer. He truly earned his Silver Star Medal and all of us should be ever grateful for his service. He is a true hero as you will read first hand. Well done SSG Spraktes!!"


~~Proud to know these heroes!, March 21, 2014 By Shirlene Liles - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Kindle Edition)

"I will admit I may be a bit biased because I have the privileged to know and serve with the fine soldiers that the reader comes to know through the story SSG Spraktes writes about but this truly is a well written, real down to earth account of Medevac in the chaos of war. It made me laugh and cry and brought up many emotions and memories of my own deployment experience. Thank you SSG Spraktes for doing such an outstanding job of telling this story."


~~He made a difference, he saved lives, he is a hero, March 10, 2014 By Amazon Customer - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Paperback)

" I deployed with this Hero and there is no higher honor than to see him share his life and experiences with the rest of the world. SSG Spraktes received the silver star medal for his actions in combat. Along side him was a captain who received the medal of honor. If you want to see a glimpse into what its like to be a real hero that saved lives in combat please buy and read."


~~Must read for military leaders, January 19, 2014 By Daniel T. Markert "Military Officer" (Silicon Valley) - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Kindle Edition)

"I gave this five stars because the story is compelling, the narrative reads fast, and SSG Pratkes and his crew are badass and literally changed the Army MEDEVAC flight medic training standards. I am an infantry officer in the California Army National Guard and I served in the same area in Afghanistan a year after this book's story. The battle in Watapur, Gangjgal, Barg e Matal, COP Keating, all actions that were still being talked about. This is a great story about the importance of properly identifying the measurement of a problem and systematically capturing the data to accurately portray the solution to the problem. I faced a similar issue trying to convince leaders on the effectiveness of the ANA with and without Coalition Force advisors. Measurements matter. It is also good story on courage, compassion, and perseverance. SSG Pratkes is to be commended for getting this story in print."


~~Great to see the other side of the story, November 10, 2013 By Joe Donnel - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Kindle Edition)

"I heard a lot of controversy as an active duty flight medic about the study that this book high lights. Being a California native and knowledge about the the California dust off I commend them in their stand to provide better care and better training. this book offered a great perspective on what they saw and what they did to fix it. Great job."


~~I'm proud of Mr. Emmett Spraktes, October 4, 2013 By Daniel Reyes - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Paperback)

"This book had a lot of drama, action, and some bits of comedy. It captured my attention since the first chapter. I'm proud of my cousin. I would recommend this book to anyone 14 or older."


~~Captivated so far, August 27, 2013 By coreyleepc - This review is from: Selfish Prayer: How California National Guard DUSTOFF Changed the Face of Medevac amid Chaos, Carnage and Politics of War (Paperback)

"I just got the kindle version of this book yesterday. So far, I have been able to read through the first chapter, but the Kindle download did not function properly(Amazon is working on it), so I went ahead and ordered the paperback. I like how Emmett is a good story teller, like my grandad with his stories of yesteryear. The narrative is pricked with a few expletives and descriptions that make me laugh (sorry ass mustache)! I am looking forward to getting the paperback to continue reading..."



5.0 out of 5 starsGreat inside look at the men who save those in dire need
July 10, 2018
I couldn’t put the book down, these guys are doing things that would boggle the everyday person. As a retired arson investigator, I worked in the same fire department as Smoot and Ferguson, if you ran into them they’re unassuming and not ones to blow their own horn. I didn’t know about their tours in the conficts they served. I probably seen CHP Spraktes on calls, as I was assigned to a downtown fire house during the 80’s. His writings are something to read and appreciate the service they provided to our wounded in combat. It takes a certain mind-set to operate in those harrowing conditions and return to home and continue their other career, which is a different sort of combat conditions. This is a must read book for those who want to know what it takes to work under those trying times.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat inside look at the men who save those in dire need
July 10, 2018
I couldn’t put the book down, these guys are doing things that would boggle the everyday person. As a retired arson investigator, I worked in the same fire department as Smoot and Ferguson, if you ran into them they’re unassuming and not ones to blow their own horn. I didn’t know about their tours in the conficts they served. I probably seen CHP Spraktes on calls, as I was assigned to a downtown fire house during the 80’s. His writings are something to read and appreciate the service they provided to our wounded in combat. It takes a certain mind-set to operate in those harrowing conditions and return to home and continue their other career, which is a different sort of combat conditions. This is a must read book for those who want to know what it takes to work under those trying times.