Army medics rehearse mountain rescues for Afghanistan

IRON HORSE STATE PARK — Spc. Andre Williams crouched on the steep slope. The Fort Lewis medic planted his left boot firmly into the dirt to ensure he wouldn’t slide away.

He pulled the thick nylon rope wrapped around the tree next to him to make sure it was secure. It anchored another soldier near the edge of a 60-foot cliff.

When he received the signal from a trainer, Williams started feeding a second rope through his gloves. Working with other medics guiding other ropes, the soldier at the end of the line disappeared off the rock face and landed softly on the ground below.

"Just that simple," the 24-year-old North Carolina native said with a laugh Tuesday.

An hour later, Williams would be back atop the cliff to help lower a basket containing a stretcher.

He was one of 15 medics from Madigan Army Medical Center participating Tuesday in high-angle, high-altitude training in the Cascade Mountains, near North Bend.

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