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A Soldiers Hero
Heroes - Heroes
Have you ever wondered who the troops look to as heroes on the battlefield? Is it their Commander? First Sergeant? Platoon leader? A Team Mate? All of those have on occasion been looked to that way depending on circumstances. But generally, when you’re a troop and you think of the word hero you look beyond your unit with one sole exception; and that is to the guy in your squad that wears a Red Cross.
Yes folks the true hero for an infantryman is that guy or gal (modern Army) that is the first one you see after you’re down that says something like “ J Bone, You with me?” or “Big John you gonna be ok, we got ya”. You hear the Thwack!! Thwack!! Of bullets still comin’ close and there above you is the Doc or Bones (We call em all one or the other) asking “Where ya hit?” What you Need?” You see their head bobbing and weaving as they glance up when the next rounds come in Whump! Whunp! and their shoulders hunch as they lean over you to protect you, their face emitting a focused but calm intensity as they survey you for the wounds.
As your senses return the pain washes over you like a blast furnace your knee is on fire!! Which knee? Your brain asks your body– left knee!! Left Knee!! You idiot! “Doc my Knee!!” Left Knee LEFT KNEE YOU IDIOT!!!- your body is now screaming at your mouth; by passing all the mush in your head but before you can answer, Doc Says, “I got ya Left knee” as he cuts your pants with his tape scissors, He looks up and says to somebody, “get em to the LZ. “ While he’s wrapping a field dressing around something sticking out of your knee. He looks at your buds and says “Careful guys, they’re gonna have to take that sh@t out at Long – Bin” He looks down at you and says ”You’ll be Ok J-Bone we gonna get you a ride out man!” he smiles and gets up and moves on. Two of your buddies grab you and carry you what seems like forever to the clearing 400 meters away red smokes already showing when you get there and there are two more waiting for the MedEvac.
Jonsey is hit bad there’s a lot of blood and some grayish stuff sticking out of his torso, another doc is still working on him and he’s screaming every time the doc washes the gray matter off and tries to put a field dressing over it. Doc keeps telling him I can’t give you any more juice man(Morphine)…you had two already. You’re not sure who the other guy is there’s too much of him missing till you see the bar on his collar, They got the LT…. Shit! I liked that one, That’s a bitch man, two weeks, three Ops and he’s gone, What was his name? What was his name? You try to remember and you can’t think of a time any one called him anything but L.T.. Shit I didn’t know his name then things start to cloud on you as the Morphine kicks in and you hear the whop whop of the slick coming to get ya, The last thing you see is the Doc working on Jonsey the same Medic focus on his face, telling him “You Gonna Make it Man we got you a ride.” Everything fades gray then black…
You wake up bouncing on the stretcher, vibrating really to the wop wop of the huey, things are still a bit out of whack and you see Jonsey, only he doesn’t look right anymore, Jonsey was a black man, he was the color of a spit shined boot and he used to sweat profusely, he would sweat in a meat freezer on KP duty. Only now he looks like somebody dipped him in gray wax, and he's dry The Flight medic sees you looking at him and has that look of tight lipped failure, when his eyes look down you know Jonsey didn’t make it, you wonder if they went ahead and gave him the third Morphine or if he was hurtin’… Then you feel a drip, drip and the look on the medic’s face goes from tight lipped to Medic Focus as he grabs a hemostat out of his flight suit pocket and stands up over the stretcher above you, you look up and see the red puddle dripping through the stretcher and you fade again wonderin who that is….
You wake up once again and the fire has returned to your knee, you’re not on the canvas stretcher anymore you're on a gurney with a mattress pad, you’re inside somewhere and there’s lots of light, and then you feel the cool, you realize not in the jungle must be the Hospital, you look down and you can see a piece of metal about the size of a 20D nail sticking out of your knee with two field dressings wrapped around it. The fire is getting hotter, when she turns around and starts cutting off your field pants. There she is a 20 something vision, a girl in a T Shirt and field pants, 38-22-37 to your calibrated NCO eye, she’s blonde and has her hair tied back, she’s been sweating, you can see the damp spots under her arms, her nipples have gone hard with the A/C and are standing like soldiers at attention, she has a prom queen face, with the prettiest bluest eyes you’ve ever seen and you feel her hand on your thigh as she cuts away at your pants, You feel the one eyed Big Dog starting to stir and you know in your heart spending one night with this woman is the athletic event you have been training your whole life for, then she looks you straight in the eye and smiles and ruins it all by opening her mouth, to ask you the absolutely dumbest question you’ve ever heard; “Are You In Pain?” The Big dog goes back to his house, and you consider your answer, do I tell her the truth “YOU STUPID WENCH I’VE GOT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING STICKING OUT OF MY KNEE WHAT DO YOU THINK!!!” or do you compose yourself, lie and say “Not since I saw you.” , Neither comes out as you mumble through the drugs something unintelligible and shake your head yes, She puts a needle in the IV Bottle and you fade again trying to remember her smell, was it sweat? No, the perfume no, the antiseptic? No they were all there, but what you remember mixed in with all the above is the smell that reminds every male of the comfort of the womb yes Big Dog you smell estrogen, you're safe, and go to black…
The above story is a composite of stories told to me by fellow soldiers and friends. The common thread of all of them is the way they spoke in awe of the medics that got them out of there, or by quick action saved a leg or an arm or a life. God Bless them all…