Thanks for the kind words folks! It means a lot. I love reading stories and looking at other pups on here, so keep making memories!
I do have to somewhat disagree with you guys a bit in reference to the sacrifice and service portion. I enjoyed/dreaded my time as a Combat Medic. Though when I joined, I knew exactly what I and the men to my left and right would be facing. It's not something I consider sacrifice on my part. After all, I'm still alive. I wish I could change certain past events, but don't we all? I was a "line medic" which is a medic assigned to a platoon that does combat patrols. Believe me...we did PLENTY of dismounted patrols, haha. I think we averaged around 1000 miles on foot per month. If I could describe Afghanistan briefly it would be: "The best AND worst time of my life." I made some of the most lasting friendships I will ever have, and gained the most disgraceful enemies I will ever have. I was the ONLY medical personnel anywhere nearby, unless you were MEDEVAC'd to a Role 3 hospital. So I was not only a friend, and medic...but a person people came to talk to when they were having terrible thoughts...by that I mean suicide. Luckily, none of the men I was with ever did. To see a grown man with a family going through so much stress, to the point he wanted to end his life truly broke my heart. Though of course then came dealing with the combat casualites, on top of doing dismounted patrols which lasted anywhere from 20 hours, to a few days. I cannot even tell you how many combat casualties there were. Most of which were Afghan locals...90% of those were children. Taliban and Muj. fighters would injure, torture, and kill the innocent locals for even talking to us..as if they were traitors. When in reality, we were just helping them. I would bring them parts of my MREs (gross I know...but it was all the food we had too), I would even provide the locals with medical care. I didn't care if it was a cough. I grew to love the children (except the ones that were corrupted already, and spit on me/threw things at me). Then as I mentioned before, some of the children were attacked for taking candy from soldiers. This was apparently to teach them a "lesson". I had almost an entire week where every day I would have multiple pediatric combat traumas due to gun shot wounds. The worst was two young boys, no older than 10. Both of them had 8+ gunshot wounds, from 7.62mm rounds. If you haven't seen what damage a 7.62mm round does compared to our puny 5.56mm round...let me just say these boys should have perished from 1 shot. They lived. Though, I question myself to this day about all of my patients...and especially the children. However, these two really make me think. I feel terrible, just wondering what kind of lifestyle they now have with such severe injuries. Though they lived somehow...they, and many other casualties we see are forever limited. The last month in deployment, while we were packing our connexs to send back to garrison was yet more losses sustained in combat out of hundreds since we've been there. We worked with Afghan government officials who were on patrols with us, as well as on a lot of US bases. I would visit with any of them that seeked medical attention, for whatever reason. One day, one of them came to me for a few issues he was having, and of course I gave him everything I could think of to help, as well as asking him to follow up with me to let me know how he is feeling.
A few days later, that same man was walking past a group of our soldiers...turned to them, and opened fire. 2 were killed, 4 were critically injured. Some of which are still recovering to this day. Of the 2 killed, 1 of them was one of my medics. One of the last conversations I had with the medic and my best friend before he died, was how happy we were to finally get some real food soon. A nice shower, a good German beer. We talked about going to med school and opening our own practice one day, because we were fed up with the way healthcare is in the civilian world, and that we could provide so much more than the scam artist doctors we see all the time today.
I was responsible for gathering his belongings in order for them to get back to his family. I also took the uniform he had on at the time, which was needed for the investigation. In one of his pockets, was a blood stained list. A list of goals. Goals for the present...and future goals. When I looked at that...I was completely speechless. THIS is the type of lasting relationship(s) I was mentioning earlier. Though, I would glady have laid my life down for someone like him to live instead. I would venture to say that THIS is the true definition of a man. Of course, you would need to have met him to really seen just how amazing of a person he is. He isn't the only one though. Just see for yourselves. How many men and women, that had a huge impact on this planet and our lives were taken from us? Taken from us from some hate filled ignorant and corrupted demon.
This isn't about me. This isn't just about Iraq/Afghanistan. This is about all of the folks that have been stripped of their #1 right as a human. Life.
The families who have had to endure these types of loses, I continually pray for. Every second, of every day. I can't even imagine having to go through the loss of a loved one, or child.
All of that being said, I am one of the people who didn't get my chance to die. At least not yet, **** I've even been hit by a drunk driver and didn't die, lol. I am guessing someone upstairs either doesn't want me just yet, or has a plan for me. So what of those of us who were there and did survive? What's next? I wish I could tell you. The only thing I can suggest, is that if you know ANYONE, that has been in a combat environment, and that has some struggles...PLEASE talk to them. They aren't crazy, they aren't dangerous. They are hurting. They need support, especially for the single service members.
I typed all of this to hopefully shed some light on my feelings towards "my sacrifice" (I wasn't trying to be offensive or anything).
I also did this to get anyone who might me "ashamed" or whatever about their issues, to get your @ss some help. I don't care if it's a service dog, counselor, talking with friend(s), etc. Trust me...I've been down a dark path, break the cycle...before it breaks you. You can GROW from deployment experiences, no matter how tragic some things may be. It's just something you have to work at, and that's why getting help is important...it makes it easier.
It's PTSD awareness month folks, sorry for the rant. Feel free to cuss at me for making you read all of this crap! Haha. If anyone needs any help, feel free to message me as well. I am currently pending a medical evaluation board @ Ft. Knox. So I am spending all my spare time helping how I can, and working with my pup!
Here is another pic
Myself on the left, and one of the 11B's (infantryman) in my platoon on the right.