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Oh dear god ...


All I wanted to do was scream for a medic, but the closest I got was thinking “oh dear god.”

The only thing I remembered was explosions rocking the command building and evacuating under a cloud of smoke. Once outside, a hail of enemy fire burst through as mortars exploded around me. Now I’m here with blood on my hands.

I counted three impaled objects, one about the size of an I-beam in the chest and two more in the face, one through the cheek and the other above the eye.

The shrapnel was all I could concentrate on at the time, the enemy fire faded into the blackness of night.

What should I do? I needed help badly. I was so confused and disoriented.

And I wasn’t even wounded.

I was knelt next to a wounded Airman attempting to give Self Aid Buddy Care. So far the only two things I got right were checking the “Airway, Breathing and Circulation” and trying to act on this situation as quickly as I could.

I locked, my brain focused on the chunks of protruding metal in this young Airmen’s body as about 30 plus inspectors stood above me dissecting and grading my every move. I was in the spot light and all I wanted was a medic.

“There’s enemy fire all around you,” an inspector calmly said.

I heard the sentence, I clearly remember it, but this is also where my first mistake came to light, the words were pushed to the wayside as my tunnel vision continued to focus on the three objects.

One of the main reasons I was so focused on the wounds was because I was confused on how to bandage them. The only thing I remembered for impalements was not to remove them unless they are preventing the patient from breathing.

At the time, I believed that we needed to get the casualty treated and then moved. It didn’t occur to me we needed to get the Airmen moved first if we couldn’t treat them immediately. There was a bunker about 10 feet away.

“We need to get her under cover,” said an Airman who was sharing my experience.

“I’ll run and get help and bandages,” I told her.

I boogied to a bunker and began recruiting my medical team and bandages and when all of us we’re back at the wounded the inspectors again reiterated the fact enemy fire was all around us.

Without a proper litter available we were forced to use the blanket our wounded lay on.

Once inside I was sent for more bandages and when I returned, a hero was dressing my Airman’s wounds.

My prayers had been answered.

“What’s your name dear?” he asked in such a soothing voice even I felt better.

“Cha, Charley,” she said between moans of agonizing pain.

“Everything is going to be fine, we will get you all bandaged up and transported to the clinic,” he said.

I learned another lesson, you need to talk to your patient to calm and reassure them.

“This might hurt a bit,” he told Charley. “I’m going to bandage your wounds.

“o … ok,” she said in a forced whisper.

With surgical precision our hero began to wrap the bandages into little donut shapes and placed them around each of the impalements and then using more bandages to prevent the shrapnel from moving.

I had two jobs at this point, one was to hold the flashlight so he could see what he was doing, but the other, more important job, was to watch and learn.

I will never again forget the little donuts.

Charley was calming down at this point, the situation was under complete control as our hero finished the bandages and gave everyone simple, non confusing instructions on what to do next.

Working as one cohesive unit we placed Charley on a litter and secured her with straps so she wouldn’t fall out on her way to the clinic.

At the moment I was thinking about everything this man has taught me, the bandages, the dialogue with the patient and keeping calm in any situation. I wanted to try this again and get it right this time. I will, in September, and I say bring it because Fairchild will be ready.

Under the light of the moon our hero was gathering his things when someone approached him.

“Are you a Medic?” they asked.

“No, I’m a Firefighter.”

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