Book Review: Dustoff 7-3: Saving Lives under Fire in Afghanistan by Erik Sabiston

Dustoff 7-3 by Erik SabistonTitle: Dustoff 7-3

Author: Erik Sabiston

Genre: Military Biography

Copyright: 2015

Publisher: Warriors Publishing Group

Pages: 234

ISBN: 978-0989798365

I received a copy of Dustoff 7-3 in exchange for an honest review.

A wounded soldier in Afghanistan had a 92 percent chance of survival – and that was due to us. – Erik Sabiston

When I was twenty-seven, I audited a military history course. At the time, I was convinced I wanted to study, then teach, military history. The course disenchanted me, not with history, but with man’s unquenchable thirst for violence.

What lacked in the course’s syllabus was material that demonstrated humanity. An account like Erik Sabiston’s Dustoff 7-3 would have helped balance the brutal war strategies. Sabiston’s story of his time as a Medevac helicopter pilot in Afghanistan offsets the dark side of war with examples of humanity, bravery, and dedication to life that exist in and above a battlefield.

Sabiston’s viewpoints are refreshing and daunting. Daunting because they dissolve the detachment most people leverage when ingesting lethal events via CNN, BBC, etc.  Reading the personal experiences of  Sabiston’s crew forces an individual connection to the ongoing battle against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

The story’s source shouldn’t make a difference, but it does. Ideally, our minds would recognize the deaths major media reports as the death of someone’s sister, brother, mom, granddad, but our emotional safeguards erect walls and turn the deaths into spreadsheet numbers. Reading accounts like Sabiston’s demolishes the mind’s walls. Battles, bombings, troop movements, death counts begin to reverberate in the mind as individual lives being detoured or ended and a murmur of grace is said for  the soldiers being evacuated by Medivac crews and for  the men and women who risk their lives for golden rules.

Dustoff 7-3 invites the reader into a weekend in the life of a Medevac crew in Afghanistan. Sabiston covers the difficulty of flying a helicopter, especially while being shot at with missiles; the integrated actions a crew must execute on missions; day to day life in the military; motivation for joining the military; and a non-political view of the Afghani battleground.

Dustoff 7-3 is available via Dustoff 7-3 at Barnes & Nobles, Dustoff 7-3 Amazon, and most major book retailers. You can learn more about Erik Sabiston’s career at


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