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Posted: 9/10/2004 10:46:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 10:50:28 AM EST by KA3B]
----- Original Message -----
From: Scott, Vincent CAPT AAUSN 200, 1-110
To: Bill Minnich (E-mail)
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 1:57 PM
Subject: FW: The List

Bill: Before you read this, get a handkerchief.......will bring tears to your eyes!

(202) 433-
DSN: 288-

-----Original Message-----
From: Kinney GS15 Susan C [mailto:KinneySC]
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 12:37
To: Scott, Vincent CAPT AAUSN 200, 1-110; Boyd GS15 Michael D
Subject: FW: The List

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Great email from a Navy Combat Doc. Best first hand account I have read. Say a prayer on your way home tonight for the Marines in Iraq.

Semper Fi,
Chuck Christburg
Deputy Chief, Policy Division
DSN: 692
Office: (719) 554-
Cell: ! ; (719) 694-

This email is from a good friend of mine who is a Navy psychiatrist and former flight surgeon who is currently deployed. She has been sending periodic updates that have been very well-written and poignant. She was the doc who stayed with PFC Phelps (recommended for the Medal of Honor for jumping on the grenade) before he was shipped to Germany and then the US where he died in route. You may want to read it when you have time.
s/f cmoore

Greetings all from hot, hot, hot Iraq,
We are short indeed...although not quite as short as we had originally thought...our flight home has been posted and is showing up 3 days later than planned. The good news is that we leave in the middle of the night and arrive (all admin complete, including turning our weapons into the armory) ! around dinnertime at Pendleton on the same day we leave (11 hrs time difference). The other good news is it appears we've got commercial contract air carriers taking us home...so we don't have to worry about sleeping on the cold steel deck of an Air Force C-17.

So...we turned over authority of the surgical company last week to our replacements, who had a serious trial by fire here in multiple ways, including multiple traumas, surgeries, increased risk to their personal safety, power outages, water outages, and camel spiders in the hospital...all in their first 4 days. But a few days ago, we heard the helicopters coming and knew they were dealing with multiple traumas, several of which were going to the OR...and we sat in our barracks and waited for them to call us if they needed us. They never did. Last week was the ceremony to mark the official end of our role here. Now we just wait.

As the days move very slowly by, just! waiting, I decided that one of the things I should work on for my own closure and therapeutic healing...is a list. The list would be a comparison: "Things That Were Good" about Iraq and being deployed with the Marines as one of the providers in a surgical company, and "Things That Were Not Good." Of course, it's quite obvious that this list will be very lopsided. But I thought I would do it anyway, hoping that somehow the trauma, the fear, the grief, the laughter, the pride and the patriotism that have marked this long seven months for me will begin to make sense, through my writing. Interestingly, it sort of turned into a poem. To be expected, I guess.

Most of all it's just therapy, and by now I should be relatively good at that. Hard to do for yourself, though.

So here goes...in reverse order of importance...

Things That Were Good

Sunset over the desert...almost always orange
Sunrise over the desert...almost always red
The childlike excitement of having fresh fruit at dinner after going weeks without it

Being allowed to be the kind of clinician I know I can be, and want to be, with no limits placed and no doubts expressed

But most of all,
The United States Marines, our patients...
Walking, every day, and having literally every single person who passes by say "Hoorah, Ma'am..."
Having them tell us, one after the other, through blinding pain or morphine-induced euphoria..."When can I get out of here? I just want to get back to my unit..."
Meeting a young Sergeant, who had lost an eye in an explosion...he asked his surgeon if he could open the other one...when he did, he sat up and looked at the young Marines from his fire team who were being treated for superficial shrapnel wounds in the next room...he smiled, laid back down, and said, "I only have one good eye, Doc! , but I can see that my Marines are OK."
And of course, meeting the one who threw himself on a grenade to save the men at his side...who will likely be the first Medal of Honor recipient in over 11 years...

My friends...some of them will be lifelong in a way that is indescribable
My patients...some of them had courage unlike anything I've ever experienced before
My comrades, Alpha Surgical Company...some of the things witnessed will traumatize them forever, but still they provided outstanding care to these Marines, day in and day out, sometimes for days at a time with no break, for 7 endless months

And last, but not least...
Holding the hand of that dying Marine

Things That Were Not Good

Terrifying camel spiders, poisonous scorpions, flapping bats in the darkness, howling, territorial wild dogs, flies that insisted on landing on our faces, giant, looming mosquitoes, invisible sand flies that carry leischmaniasis

132 degrees
Wearing long sl! eeves, full pants and combat boots in 132 degrees
Random and totally predictable power outages that led to sweating throughout the night
Sweating in places I didn't know I could sweat...like wrists, and ears

The roar of helicopters overhead
The resounding thud of exploding artillery in the distance
The popping of gunfire...
Not knowing if any of the above sounds is a good thing, or bad thing
The siren, and the inevitable "big voice" yelling at us to take cover...
Not knowing if that siren was on someone's DVD or if the big voice would soon follow

The cracking sound of giant artillery rounds splitting open against rock and dirt
The rumble of the ground...
The shattering of the windows...
Hiding under flak jackets and kevlar helmets, away from the broken windows, waiting to be told we can come to the hospital...to treat the ones who were not so lucky...

Watching the helicopter with the big red cross on the side l! anding at our pad
Worse...watching Marine helicopters filled with patients landing at our pad...because we usually did not realize they were coming...

Ushering a sobbing Marine Colonel away from the trauma bay while several of his Marines bled and cried out in pain inside
Meeting that 21-year-old Marine with three Purple Hearts...and listening to him weep because he felt ashamed of being afraid to go back
Telling a room full of stunned Marines in blood-soaked uniforms that their comrade, that they had tried to save, had just died of his wounds
Trying, as if in total futility, to do anything I could, to ease the trauma of group after group...that suffered loss after loss, grief after inconsolable grief...

Washing blood off the boots of one of our young nurses while she told me about the one who bled out in the trauma bay...and then the one who she had to tell, when he pleaded for the truth, that his best friend didn't make it...
Listening to another of our nurses tell of the Marine who came in talking, telling her his name...about how she pleaded with him not to give up, told him that she was there for him...about how she could see his eyes go dull when he couldn't fight any longer...

And last, but not least...
Holding the hand of that dying Marine

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:49:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 10:49:50 AM EST by LWilde]
"...Meeting that 21-year-old Marine with three Purple Hearts...and listening to him weep because he felt ashamed of being afraid to go back "

Three well earned Purple Hearts, for wounds incurred in combat.

God Bless our Marines.

Shame on John Kerry.

Thank you for the posting.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:51:19 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 10:59:03 AM EST by POWER03]
I am really fighting back tears right now. Man, I feel so unworthy in every way. I did and will pray for our Servicemen and women.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:52:27 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:58:05 AM EST
tag to forward on to others
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 10:58:33 AM EST
freakin monitor is making my eyes burn...

time for a break.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:03:03 AM EST
Semper Fi! Just...Semper Fi!
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:12:43 AM EST
Holding back tears...........
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:16:03 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:18:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By Btownboy:
Holding back tears...........

Unable to hold back tears....
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:22:08 AM EST
damnit, we have the best young people on earth.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:22:26 AM EST
Wow....... Sobering stuff...... Thanks for posting.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:23:37 AM EST
<-------Trying to swallow the massive lump in her throat.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:28:30 AM EST
Navy Docs............you guys and gals have always been there for us

Semper Fi Navy. You rate it.

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:43:11 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:50:30 AM EST
god bless and keep you all safe.

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 12:30:55 PM EST
Very moving indeed.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 2:46:30 PM EST
Great post, Semper Fi Marines.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 2:51:24 PM EST
I don't know what to say. I'm lost for words.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 2:58:09 PM EST
Alot of thoughts running through my head. Hard to keep them straight.

All I can say is thank you for what you do, whoever you are, whereever you are. Some of us here truly appreciate what you do, while others live in their blind little utopia and just don't get it.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:01:27 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:02:13 PM EST

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:14:54 PM EST
I feel so small right now.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:20:18 PM EST
Because I'm at a loss for words.....

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:29:21 PM EST
........no words.....just tears
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:32:25 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:41:46 PM EST

Nothing I am thinking could be typed clearly, and would fall flat on an internet forum.

Link Posted: 9/10/2004 3:41:59 PM EST
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