I was requested to do this IAmA the other day, these are some albums of my experience. Album One :http://imgur.com/a/NxfZ0 Album two: http://imgur.com/a/b5X2z Album Three: http://imgur.com/a/6CX7h

** Edit: Sorry it took a while for me to get back, lunch turned into, lets go watch the ocean.

*** Edit 2: I got into Army medicine because I heard about it on the radio, and it felt like a good fit, I had no training

***Edit 3: No american wounded are pictured in this, for any of my OMG OPSEC" Buddies, these images are also over 3 years old at this point.

Comments: 2998 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

jmcnai1558 karma

If you are comfortable telling us; how many people can you say are alive because of you?

Bolldere2497 karma

10 americans, over 100 afghans.

hartfish2013789 karma

What is the scariest/most traumatic situation you have ever been in?

Bolldere1838 karma

I think for me, Nov 22, 2010, my platoon was on a patrol in a place called Nalgham, one of our ANA (afghan national army) soldiers stepped on a mine, and suffered a double amputation above the knee, while evaccing him out by litter, the litter team was struck by an IED (estimated at several hundred pounds). We had 8 injured, 2 died. I was the only medic who was not injured severely, my supervisor was struck by shrapnel, and wounded, but he managed to get up and help me with the wounded. That for me ranks very high, even though I have seen worse, these were my best friends, my brothers.

hartfish2013821 karma

Damn, I'm trying to sympathize but as a civilian who has never seen war or anything of this nature I can't even fathom the emotions that come with this experience.

Bolldere1873 karma

In my experience, trauma is trauma. Everyone has bad things that happen to them, the worst for you, and the worst for me, are different events but the same emotions. Keep in mind not everything is bad, I have some very fond memories of the time.

JollyO684 karma

I've always said experience is relative to the person.

Bolldere662 karma


kiddsgames11 karma

That is the most elegantly put response to that statement/question that i've ever heard/read. Trauma is trauma, regardless of where and how you experience it.

Bolldere8 karma

thank you

SodlidDesu337 karma

Feels. We only had one combat casualty one deployment.

My friend took a sniper round to the throat.

Bolldere471 karma

yeah that sucks. we had a guy go down like that, one gunshot, right through his optic.

Sanityisoverrated1623 karma

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Bolldere1065 karma

Over well. I put some salt and pepper on them and usually make a sandwich with toast.

theladyfromthesky447 karma

good man, knows how to truly eat breakfast.

Bolldere880 karma

It is how champions start the day


Did you fight alongside any brits?

Are they any different to the US forces?

Bolldere1510 karma

yes! The britts are a lot of fun, and totally wreckless and crazy. They had these tanks, im not sure what they are called, but they would drive through IED's, open the hatch, curse, spit, get back in, and run over some walls or more IED's, fun guys.

tlock8791 karma

It takes balls of fucking steel to drive over an IED, laugh about it, then drive over more.

Bolldere1005 karma

Yeah, they were a fun group of guys.

Xmatron1125 karma



Bolldere1027 karma

haah I meant to work with, none of them died.

fifirox591 karma

Where was the area with the worst conditions?

Bolldere855 karma

Southern Khandahar, Afghanistan 2010-2011

fifirox366 karma

What about the best environment?

Bolldere885 karma

A peace time place of course, I was recently stationed in europe, it was fun.

tlock8637 karma

By fun, I assume you mean drunken

Bolldere1124 karma


printerpaper45236 karma


Bolldere363 karma

Rgr that, Aco 2/502

printerpaper45314 karma

A 1/502 small world bro

Bolldere301 karma

haha for real, I'm not there anymore, but I miss it sometimes, just sometimes, STRRRIIIIKE

high_yield231 karma

Could you give a little more description as to why it was the worst?

Bolldere498 karma

I think because it was a major surge effort, the area had not really been explored or pushed into. The fighting was severe, we were in some sort of engagement pretty much every day until the winter when the fighting dies down there. The area was also covered in IED's and mines, because the taliban didn't want to lose these strongholds and sources of income.

LibAtheist242 karma

Do you think Afghanistan is "unsaveable?" I have serious doubts about being able to bring stability to a country that has fighting seasons.

Bolldere567 karma

I don't think so, from my perspective, the people there just want to live their lives, like anyone else. From what I saw, they are being manhandled and controlled by the taliban, who use them for money and drugs.

Warlizard575 karma

When you get back, please stay plugged in with the VA, with your Army brothers, and transition back to civilian life as slowly as possible.

The culture shock is intense, and too many vets end up hiding in rooms, drinking themselves into numbness, just to stay sane.

Bolldere785 karma

I am back already, and I am. I am being medically retired for nerve damage to my arms.

frenchlitgeek532 karma

What would you say is the thing of your job movies don't get right at all?

Bolldere1383 karma

the downtime, war is sitting around for hours waiting for something to happen, then 12 seconds of madness.

TheJuveGuy496 karma

Sorry if you've answered this before, but were there shots fired at you? Do the taliban care about who's medic and who isn't?

Bolldere1083 karma

yes and no they dont, well they care, we are worth more, so i've been told, which is why we dont wear red crosses anymore.

TheJuveGuy323 karma

Thanks for the reply. Massive respect for what you are doing.

Bolldere390 karma

thank you

Da_Thatch451 karma

Canadian Med Tech here, keep on keeping on brother.

Bolldere613 karma

Thanks, canada rocks, thanks for securing afghanistan for us.

Fapologist444 karma

Leaving for basic in a week. Then It's off to 68 whiskey training!

Bolldere834 karma

good luck, keep your head down, and only speak when spoken to, you will do fine.

Datsyukia380 karma

As a medic, did you do a lot of fighting yourself, or are you behind the lines a bit tending to people's injuries?

Bolldere923 karma

I was an infantry platoon medic, so yes and no. I was on the front lines with my guys, but for the most part they were always yelling at me to get down, or jumping on me, the guys wanted to keep me safe incase anything happened to them.

odietamo1355 karma

Do you regret joining the army?

Bolldere1092 karma

Not at all. It was the single best choice I have ever made. I met my wife on active duty, I met some of the best men and women our nation has, I got to help so many people, save hundreds of lives, and be a part of something bigger than myself. I wouldn't take it back for anything.

MoXria317 karma


Bolldere319 karma

thank you

Not_Doing_Things130 karma

Is the nerve damage debilitating?

You said you were retired. Is the payment good enough for a decent life? Does your wife still work in the Army? Do you have any plans to work again as a medic?

Thank you very much for your service!

Bolldere337 karma

Yes, I have ulnar nerve damage which is severe in my left arm and moderate in my right, my hands dont work very well anymore,

I am on my way to retirement now, few more months of rehab.

My wife doesnt work, the money is good and we have saved very well, and both plan to work in the future.

SnOwBunZz351 karma

What is the most heroic thing you've seen or done so far?

Bolldere1041 karma

Three of my friends rushed through heavy gunfire, RPG's, through a minefield, to get one of our wounded. very brave

clauderamey345 karma

I was in Kandahar in 2012, and our medics were kick-ass when some of our guys got hit. just wanted to say thanks, and keep saving lives!

Bolldere278 karma

thank you

Dudwithacake340 karma

I'll be the one to ask about your craziest story.

Bolldere1209 karma

I once chased a huge porcupine down a hole because he was eating our MRE's at night screaming AMERICA!!!, I took a quill to the face, but got him.

eskimogoat263 karma

From your album, many of the patients you have treated are young local children. What are the most common things that these children present with? And what do you think can be done to stop these injuries from occurring?

Bolldere409 karma

The kids in the area have a lot of skin problems due to malaria, I would think that is the number one problem there for them. The second would be accidents, which are somewhat unavoidable, like shop accidents or burning oil falling on them.

Jonnysource146 karma

I don't know about now, but back in the day most of the kids we treated were due to their parents injuring them intentionally so they could come in as well and get things like free meals and other stuff. Hopefully it's changed.

Bolldere266 karma

I didn't see much of that to be honest.

surfe244 karma

I am a protest Medic on the frontline in Istanbul, its not a war but plastic bullets and amount of tear gas is beyond imagination. Any advice tips from your experience that can be of use?

Bolldere284 karma

Make sure to check airways, tear gas can be fatal if people stay in it too long, and check those impact sites for severe hematoma under the skin

Jowl_M230 karma

Would you say your experience is more traumatic than an infantryman's because of the nature of being a medic?

Bolldere506 karma

I think its different, from the guys I have talked to, medics have a lot more guilt, I know I do. I think my infantry buddies have a different kind of burden, but I would never say someones trauma is more or less

mundzy1196 karma

first four lines of the 9-line, go!

Bolldere413 karma

L -location F - frequency call sign P- Patients E - Equipment

low flying pilots eat tacos man

limedrinkdeluxe169 karma

how did you become a medic, what training did you have prior to joining the forces?

Bolldere274 karma

I enlisted for the MOS (job), I had no medical background prior to that.

visualmagic125 karma

What would you be more likely to treat? 100 duck sized horses or a single horse sized duck?

Bolldere342 karma

Horse sized duck, more fluid volume to work with.

Nerfi78 karma

On that note, thank you for being the badass who helps our soldiers retain their precious bodily fluids.

Bolldere320 karma

Except the semen, I took all of that

Rango_99115 karma

What's one if the main experiences that's makes you want to keep doing what you are doing ?

Bolldere317 karma

Pulling someone back from deaths doorstep, its such a great feeling knowing youve saved someones life.

Skinnybones_Jones109 karma

My big brother is a combat medic as well, he's been deployed once.

What was your favorite moment being over there? You're most memorable moment?

Bolldere273 karma

I used to love it at night, I would be on guard or something, and it's so quiet and peacefull, the stars and moon are so bright you could read a book by them. In the winter when it was very cold, we used to make a big fire and hang out, shoot the shit and tell stories, I miss those times .

Burmenstein94 karma

I agree, nothing like a clear afghan night with the shadows of the mountains in the background. You really don't even realize how many stars there are until you are in a country that is pitch black at night.

Bolldere86 karma


Nooker94 karma

Where you ever in a situation where you had multiple wounded soldiers to tend to. How did you handle it?

Bolldere163 karma

yes, as best I could, I triaged and treated, and had my guys help me with first aid.

thelonebard88 karma

Thank you for finally posting an album of millitary life that isn't full of 50 pictures of smiling american guys and nothing else.

My question though; As someone who is near violently opposed to war of any sort (I'm aware of the irony of being violently opposed to violence.) I've still been torn many times between my own convictions, and trying to become an army medic.

Did you ever know anyone who despised war, and even the very thing soldiers stand for, yet joined to save as many innocent people as they could?

I'm asking because seeing some of the pictures and video coming out of Turkey right now, part of me wants to sell everything I have and fly over there with nothing but a cert 2 in first aid on the off chance I can help someone, and it's made me start thinking again that maybe I should just stomach my own views and beliefs and try for it anyway.

Bolldere124 karma

In my experience a lot of people in the medical field feel that way, I know I do. I hate war, its horrible.

Tablemonster85 karma

I too was recently in RC South. Horrible place. Where was the absolute WORST conditions you had to do trauma care in? Our medic managed to get an IV in a guy's arm while I was noping the fuck out of a bad place at about fifty mph through a bouncy ass desert in a MATV. Still don't know how he managed to do it.

Bolldere109 karma

I have done that before, in a crappy MRAP bouncing all around highway one, but for me being on the ground with bullets and explosions all around, pretty shitty.

fredsonfire84 karma

is there still some sort of agreement towards not shooting at medics in these war zones?

Bolldere189 karma

there is supposed to be, the geneva convention, but the taliban/ al quaeda doesnt follow that.

lymphocyte84 karma

What was the most common ailment or wound type that you came across (be it an Afghan or American patient)?

Also, what has the US done to improve the healthcare of the local Afghans long term?

Bolldere136 karma

I think malaria complications would be high on the list for our Afghan people, but for everyone, IED blasts, and the things that come with that, shrapnel, burns, concussive wounds. We trained our ANA counterparts, so all of their medics, we also set up local villages with aid stations and medical supplies.

KennyPowersz83 karma

Why did you join the military?

What is the most classified thing you can tell us?

Bolldere543 karma

I was working a normal kind of job at the time, this was 2005, I heard an article on NPR about infantry platoons going on patrols without medics, I enlisted the next day.

I can't, its classified.

IamQuinnce79 karma

Thank you for serving this county :)

Bolldere133 karma

youre welcome.

ChickenChipz77 karma

For anyone who hasn't seen this... Restrepo

See you in an hour and 29 minutes.

Bolldere80 karma

Yeah, that is a great documentary to see.

theladyfromthesky76 karma

i wish to be a medic as well how would i go about becoming one and becoming the best i can be? are there books or something, cause i have yet to find a book that goes into a large amount of detail about army medics.

Bolldere123 karma

It's difficult to find source material. If you really want to be the best, I would start looking at the Ranger Field Medic Guide or the Special Forces Medical Journals. The BCT3 Guidelines are also a good place to start learning.

vectaur28 karma

Is this something available to civilians? I poked around the internet a bit and this seems like it might be it, but not sure.

Bolldere32 karma

thats the same one we use.

OrangeFlavour72 karma

What is the most important thing you learned in med school?

Bolldere223 karma

I never went to medical school, but in medical training, I would say the correct use of Tourniquet and hemostatic dressings .

lordcryst66 karma

What kind of schooling did you have to go through to become a medic?

Bolldere122 karma

basic training, medic AIT (advanced training) which in total is about 32 weeks, unit level training, which was all the time, prior to deployment, JRTC scenario training, BCT3 training

old_hippy58 karma

As a 20 year retired navy vet, I am curious as to how it is working with women in a very difficult situation such as southern Kandahar?

Bolldere105 karma

To be honest we rarely did, at the time women werent allowed in the infantry, I only worked with a few back at the FOB aid station, and we had some females on FET teams (searching afghan females), but we had no problems to be honest .

PetahOsiris49 karma

Is there piece of first aid/trauma care knowledge you think everyone should know? If so what?

Bolldere124 karma

If you can, always keep a Tourniquet on you, they are easy to use and seriously save lives.

tylerjarvs46 karma

What was your kit set up for?

Bolldere103 karma

traumas, blood loss, emergency airways. No surgical stuff its too heavy, I was pretty much set for common wounds, amputations, gunshots, and sucking chest wounds.

Wesley323834 karma

What steps did you take after high school to become a medic?

Bolldere197 karma

I went to college, did keg stands, smoked some pot, got a job. I was just a normal guy who walked into a recruiters office one day to be honest.

buckiben28 karma

First of all thank you for your service. My question to you is, have you ever worked with anyone other US branch, other than Army? If so, how did they compare?

Bolldere89 karma

Yes, I have worked with all branches of the US Army in deployments, as well as our international partners. It is really hard to compare to be honest, to me it seems like people are just doing their jobs. On the ground you kind of scoff at the air force guy, until he calls in close air support or a GBU, and you laugh at the navy, until they build your COP for you. I think each branch has its speciality, and for the most part do it very well.

SherbetExplosion27 karma

I don't have a question, I just wanted to say thank you.

Bolldere44 karma

thank you

DerelictFrog3325 karma

As a combat medic do you feel more or less of a target?

Also, do you carry a weapon?

Bolldere65 karma

I would say the same as anyone else, we try to blend in, and yes, a rifle.

Zzb30321 karma

I hope all is well and thank you for your service. Have you ever seen something that the us army did that made u regret ever joining the army?

Bolldere71 karma

In the news of course, you see stories about soldiers abusing people or comitting war crimes, but that wouldnt make me regret joining the army, there are over 500 thousand of us, and i assure you, we are all sickened by the actions of the few.

wastingawayinGA18 karma

I'm in southern khandahar now. It's getting rough again. Guys hittin pressure plates all the time and constant odd when we go back to shank. I've earned my cmb. Ill keep it at that

Bolldere17 karma

keep your head down, that place is a nightmare.

chilson1817 karma

Hi and first off I want to thank you for your service. Second, I am thinking if doing this and then becoming a doctor. In your opinion, would it be better to go in the Army first or go to college and medical school? Also, Im a little chubby and had asthma as a kid, would that affect any of the physical requirements and training needed for this?

Bolldere36 karma

I would do college first, there are programs for med school students to be direct comissioned. I am not sure how chubby you are or if you have asthma now, but the army does have weight standards for everyone, childhood asthma isnt problem to my knowledge.

judgeslife16 karma

What jobs are you qualified for in the medical field with just the training you received in the army?

Bolldere29 karma

none, nada, nothing


Do you worry that you may get PTSD? Thanks for your service and I wish you and your family the best especially when you return home.

Bolldere28 karma

i was diagnosed with it in 2011, if that answers your question.

machbird1592 karma

If someone's injuries are to severe and nothing can be done to help them, therefore they end up passing, do you feel angry/responsible that you couldn't save that person?

Bolldere20 karma