Thursday, November 02, 2006

'I do not let people die on me'

A Corpsman's story.

Time to give the NYT group proper credit. Here is a great article about a day in the life of a Navy Corpsman in Iraq. Remember, this is a 3rd Class Petty Officer, 22 years old. Read the whole thing.
It was a single, loud crack.

No one was precisely sure where it had come from. Everyone knew precisely where it hit. It struck a marine who was peering out of the first vehicle's gun turret. He collapsed.

Kirby rushed to him and found him breathing. He bandaged his head as the vehicle lurched away. Soon he helped load the wounded marine onto a helicopter, which touched down beside the convoy within 12 minutes of the shot.

Once the helicopter lifted away, Doc Kirby ran back to his vehicle, ready to treat anyone else. He was thinking about the marine he had already treated.

"If I had gone with him," he said, and glanced to where the helicopter had flown away, over the line of date palms at the end of a field. His voice softened. "But I'm not with him," he said.

He turned, faced a reporter and spoke loudly again. "In situations and times like this, I am bound to start yelling and shouting furiously," he said. "Don't think I am losing my mind."

He held his bloody hands before his face, to examine them. They were shaking. He made fists so tight his veins bulged.

"His name was Lance Corporal Colin Smith," he said. "He said a prayer today right before we came out, too."

"Every time before we go out, we say a prayer," Doc Kirby said. "It is a prayer for serenity. It says a lot about things that do pertain to us in this kind of environment."

The only sounds were Kirby's voice and the vehicle's engine thrumming. He recited the prayer. There were a few moments of silence. "It's a platoon kind of thing, if you know what I mean," he said.
He is just one - but he is an example of all those like him. Everyone likes to joke about the Corpsman coming at you with that long wooden shaft Q-tip, but they are literally on the bleeding edge of the Navy's part in this war. Petty Officer Kirby; BZ.

Just a side-note; as you read it think about all the tempest in a teapot over here about religion in the military. Just goes to show you how detached those who want to pull crosses down are.

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