The following is an excerpt from my new book that I recently began to write. It is
the amazing story of the 228th Combat Support Hospital and what they accomplished during their tour in Iraq in 2005.
April 2005, Mosul Iraq
The First Sergeant screamed repeatedly in mercy, “Put
me down, put me down, please, put me down!” as we scrambled to push the litter into the hospital. Hollowness
filled the shell of my body as I thought to myself about what he was saying. Did he want us to get him under general anesthesia
as quickly as possible, maybe he wanted us to put him out of his agonizing pain with a bullet but then again maybe he was
doing what he did best as a First Sergeant and as a leader, bark commands. I reassuringly repeated to him that he was going
to be OK and hang in there but it was difficult to be honest with myself. I knew this soldier was in poor condition but if
there was a fighting chance he could survive it was here at the Combat Support Hospital.
He painfully thrashed on the gurney from side to side, as
the double doors slammed wide open and the screams of horrific pain overwhelmed the sounds of organized chaos in the emergency
room. A treatment team immediately swarmed over him and the medical orders were popping off as they have done hundreds of
time in the past few months. “I need a central line! Cut the rest of that uniform off! I need his vital signs!”
I picked up a central line off the stock shelf and waited to hand it to another doctor who was already making an incision
between his 4th and 5th ribs to re-inflate his lung. The valiant efforts to save a life, a limb an eye went on through the night unselfishly
and as the chaos continued as I walked away from the MASCAL to coordinate further incoming wounded or evacuate of stabilized
patients. I paused and turned looking over my shoulder, my ears went silent to the hum of the chaotic room and for the time
being I put behind me the horrors of war. The smell of death, the odor of brunt flesh, urine and feces combined with antiseptic
agents impales a very distinct and rancid aroma in your brain forever.