Comments: 1779 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

thepaiman411 karma

I know this is a weird question but ive always wanted to ask. What happens to the dead bodies of enemies after a firefight where your side ends up better off? Are the bodies just left lying there?

ArmyMedic2005529 karma

we actually call the local authorities and they collect the bodies and deal with them according to sharia law

magicbullets274 karma

What's the most important drug to have in the field, and why?

ArmyMedic2005470 karma


Because people are gross and will poop out all their water because washing their hands is too much of a hastle

Dr_Trintignant196 karma

I really shouldn't be laughing at this.

I was expecting some form of heavy painkiller or an antiseptic.

But nope, something to cure the shits. Next you'll be telling me you carried around those little bottles of hand sanitizer as well.

ArmyMedic2005244 karma

Next you'll be telling me you carried around those little bottles of hand sanitizer as well.

I carried around a lot of hand sanitizer. I used it so much I actually started getting white circles on the skin on my hands

MyNamesNotWarren191 karma

What's the silliest injury you've had to treat?

ArmyMedic2005398 karma

I'm going to go with syphilis

bebe13181 karma

What's the most angry/disappointed you've been with a higher ranking officers decision? e.g. medi-vacs that were necessary but were denied.

ArmyMedic2005332 karma

Honestly I can't say.

I can say it wasn't medical.

Basically I saw a canoe full of weapons, that were going from one place to another.

I asked for an airstrike, and it got up to someone else, and someone else said no.

That's the frustrating part. You don't know what is going on out there. You don't know if you don't get the airstrike because the guy upstairs thinks you're an idiot, or maybe it's a CIA agent pretending to be a smuggler. Or maybe everyone is dumb. You never know.

Sorry for the shitty answer. As far as medical stuff generally people treat medics like Jesus. No one wants to be on the report as being the Frank Burns character that contributed to an allied death.

As far as that goes, when I was a private, when we did training I would have to go to the mission briefs and debriefs with the top ranking people. The infantry guys 4 ranks up from me would have to wait outside to be briefed.

They told me they were training me not to be afraid of rank when they planned missions. If I was afraid to state my opinion about to a 1sg as a private I'd be afraid as a specialist.

Pretty much everyone all over the army was awesome to me whenever I was doing my job or talking about doing my job.

The shitty thing is whenever I was doing my job someone was hurt.

toddleif157 karma

What are some experiences that you encountered in Iraq that you will remember for the rest of your life?

ArmyMedic2005461 karma

There are a lot of ways I could answer this question.

I want to say something really deep or something, but the first time I was over there I was on a major base.

If you are asking me what is the most intense memory, it's pineapple.

I got blown up one day and when I went to breakfast afterwards they had fresh cut pineapple and it was the most delicious thing I've ever had or will ever have.

I'm sure it's not significantly different than the pineapple they have in america, and I've bought several hoping to taste pineapple that good again, and I never have. I'm pretty sure I was just having a perfect moment, and I am romancing the pineapple

lawjr3145 karma

How are you? So many of my friends have come back and gotten divorced, lost their licenses and really suffered as a result of their PTSD.

How are you coping?

When did you get home from your last tour? How long was it?

ArmyMedic2005194 karma

I got home in 2010

I'd already been diagnosed with PTSD from my first tour.

I think I am doing quite well and the GI bill was a big help

mostlynein126 karma

What is something that you regret about the time you spent in the war?

ArmyMedic2005702 karma

Nothing. I spent the time reading the classics. I lived every moment. I miss it sometimes. I saved lives, read great books, carried a gun, I was an important man.

Now I'm some fat guy who tells fart jokes on reddit in the dark while drinking beer

blittzo119 karma

Have you ever seen the enemy?

ArmyMedic2005334 karma

I've not only seen them, but I've seen them in bed. I've been on top of them pointing a rifle and I've found their records in their nightstands.

I've seen how much they got paid for subcontracting an american death.

ExplosiveFlame103 karma

What was the most distressing aspect of your job? Did you ever have to operate on someone who clearly wasn't going to make it? What was it like seeing people you know injured?

ArmyMedic2005213 karma

I was really really lucky. I never had to do anything major with Americans. I mean there were some serious boo boos, but not like any blackhawk down shit.

Mostly I was dealing with closed head injuries and torn ACL/Meniscus from runnning the gun.

That's not to say we didn't have any scares.

One of my friends got knocked out standing by an RPG and kept yelling into the mic "I'M BLEEDING I'M BLEEDING" when he came to, he was like, uh, um, guys... I'm not bleeding much. Maybe at worst it's like I cut myself shaving.

ExplosiveFlame59 karma

How typical was your experience as a medic? Do you know any horror stories your colleagues have experienced? Thanks for your service and answer BTW!

ArmyMedic2005114 karma

Everyone has a story of dragging a guy out of the gun (top turret on the truck)

They want to fight and punch and kick like demons. That's pretty much universal. They are knocked out and don't know it

bruddatim56 karma

What does that mean that they are knocked out and don't know it.

ArmyMedic2005144 karma

well when you watch a movie, when someone is knocked out they lay down on the ground and have a nap for several hours.

In real life your body often takes over. Your body is running around being a fool.

I'm sure that people will post MMA/boxing links that show you what I mean

thelittlejerry87 karma

Whats the most disheartening aspect of serving in a war that the majority of the world doesn't want nor believe in?

ArmyMedic2005196 karma

all of it. War isn't even horrible. War is just gross. War isn't awful enough to stop. I was in a war that was considered to be awful. It was just every day to them.

It still wasn't that much worse than Saddam, the difference being, Saddam fixed the streets and we fucked them up.

roflmonster123485 karma

What was the worst thing you had to witness in Iraq?

ArmyMedic2005213 karma

Poop. Everywhere is poop. There are whole lakes of poop in the ghettos.

Iraqi plumbing only runs to the top of the street and the pipe dumps the sewage in the street. One of my friends lost half his vision in one eye because of that.

ReleventHaiku74 karma

I'm interested in becoming a doctor. Would you say it's worthwhile to do it through the army?

ArmyMedic2005137 karma

oh fuck yeah.

The army is the cheapest way to do it. Because I had an associate's degree they wanted to send me to a program to be a PA. (It helps if you are some kind of minority, but now in the government so many people are minorities that it's nuts. I'm a minority because I'm a white guy and neither of my parents finished college)

cprice199263 karma

(I assume so) But have you ever been fired upon when treating someone out in the open? Knowing that you couldnt really move and had to carry on with the soldiers treatment..

ArmyMedic2005155 karma

yeah, but after a while you stop taking bullets personally.

I hear stories about the Viet Cong and they scare me more than what really happened to me. The Viet Cong were AIMING at people. That makes it a lot more personal than when you hear a bullet whip by knowing someone fired it a the general direction to appease their gods

bazingawaitwhat41 karma

Since many are left without help when they return, I'd be interested to know how you coped with returning to civilian life and was it difficult to find employment?

ArmyMedic2005107 karma

I haven't yet.

It's hard. I'm actually starting to get into bad debt, but I can't blame the army for that. They gave me 10% disability and they gave me money to go to college. I just graduated.

Pedro_hooah39 karma

Just dropped in to say thanks for your service doc. As an 11C, y'all are my best friend :)

ArmyMedic200542 karma

11 series are all the same to me. The people who keep us medics alive and in business.

I know the jokes but I really don't care between bang bang and charlie.

P_axe37 karma

Hi, Thanks for doing this AMA!

While on tour are there any decisions you've made (in combat or otherwise) that you regret?

ArmyMedic200594 karma

I can tell you one I don't.

A kid ran outside with a toy gun.

About a week before I had seen propaganda (or whatever the US government calls it because we don't do propaganda) saying don't let your kid outside with a toy gun in a war zone.

That would seem obvious to you or I, but man those people over there think different.

To them it's all happened already so whatever

Long story short, I took my weapon off safe, had it on his head, realized it was a fucking toy, started hating the shit out of those asshole stupid assholes and their stupid fatalistic beliefs

johngaden25 karma

What did you think in that moment? Were you just running on instinct as far as dealing with a potential threat? Or was there a "that is a fucking child" predicament going on in your head?

ArmyMedic200593 karma

The thought process was, "I'm going to have to kill a child. OK get a good sight picture. Put the red dot on his head. Click off safe. Get a good trigger squeeze.... HEY WAIT THAT'S NOT A REAL FUCKING GUN WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE IN THIS IDIOT COUNTRY?

aidanqwerty36 karma

I am a nurse currently undergoing my training as a medic with the canadian forces. I have always wondered in the heat of an emergency medical situation, with a soldier writhing, how difficult is it to successfully insert an IV catheter? As far as GSW's go, what is the success rate for survival given the resources available to you at any given time.

ArmyMedic200572 karma

What you do is get up on their chest and pin their shoulders down. Put your balls on his face. Give him something to fight. Then do the IV

CharlesCat32 karma

Do Army Medics carry weapons, and if so, were there ever times when you were in a dangerous situation where you just had to fight like a normal soldier and forgo medical duties?

ArmyMedic2005104 karma

I actually carried more. I carried a rifle just like everyone else. I also had a pistol so that if I had to deal with bad guys I wouldn't have a rifle to grab.

I was a regular troop until someone was hurt, sort of. The differences weren't obvious.

When we did sniper missions I wasn't allowed to have the sniper rifle because I was only allowed to have "personal defense weapons" but because I grew up shooting squirrel they gave me an ACOG X4 sight so I was a defensive shooter at almost a half kilometer

notmule31 karma

Did you end up with any physical disabilities because of your job?

ArmyMedic2005111 karma

everything hurts. I had to carry a lot of weight. I was 5'11" when I joined and I am 5'10" now

notasquib29 karma

I have a friend who wants to become an army medic and I'm wanting to become a SAR Tech. One question from him is what is it like flying into a medivac where there is a fire fight going on, how do you concentrate on your job while people are/ could be shooting at you?

And one from me, how do you cope with what you see? As I SAR Tech I assume I will mostly see animal attacks and the occasional hunting accident in terms of open wounds and I'm wondering how you separate yourself from it to stay focused but also not think about it later?

ArmyMedic200553 karma

flying into a medivac where there is a fire fight going on

Uh... I have no idea

I guess the medic planes were all broken when I was a medic because I was embedded in infantry and had to act as an infantry or get shot in the back by some sand asshole

in terms of open wounds and I'm wondering how you separate yourself from it to stay focused but also not think about it later?

I dunno

I think it's because I dealt with so much meat growing up that I don't care.

The funny thing is someone all blown up doesn't bother me, but seeing someone get surgery on TV does.

I think filleting so much fish and chicken but watching so much TV desensitized me to real life, but taught me to have empathy for the TV people.

JayH199023 karma

how long does it take for you to get over the death of a person that you were trying to save? (i assume that has happened to you once or twice) Do you feel guilty? (even though that is irrational) Do you dream of their faces?

ArmyMedic200584 karma

Wouldn't know. Never saw a patient die.

I was a good luck charm. They sent me from one place that got blown up a lot and never had a casualty to a place that had all the casualties. When I was dealing with US guys it was concussions and whatnot.

Almost all of the life threatening injuries I dealt with were Iraqi nationals. Most of the fighters we dealt with were from other countries.

If one were to haunt me though, there was this guy. It was my first mission there. Some asshole filled a car full of TNT and drove it into the convoy where the Iraqi army was trying to show us around.

These poor assholes were just doing whatever the fuck people over there do. They were down at the market buying goat yogurt or whatever and some Syrian asshole decided he needed to explode.

His leg was blown almost off. I tied it off with a tourniquet, but he kept tugging at my elbow and looking me in the eye. I could see he was afraid and he wanted someone to tell him it was OK but I couldn't speak whatever he spoke and his ambulances ended up taking him away anyway

Ardelic22 karma

Are the civilians over there as friendly as we believe them to be? (Canadian)

ArmyMedic200578 karma

Depends where you are. The Kurds definitely are. In the 90's Saddam lost power over the north and the Kurds put up satellite dishes. They watched MTV. They all learned English and started watching CNN. They get Americans. They have the biggest legit beef against the US and they kind of just don't give a shit. They're pretty cool people. When we went through Dahouk it was easy to forget you were in an occupied country. We went to their restaurants and ate without fear of being poisoned.

Mhorberg20 karma

Where did you get your training at and why did you choose to become a medic? Was it your first choice joining the Army?

I grew up around Ft. Leonard Wood and a friend of mine in high school knew he wanted to be in the infantry. I've talked to more then my share of Army recruiters over the years and I've learned they will always tell you what you want to hear to get you to sign that contract.

ArmyMedic200575 karma

I actually wanted to be a medic and not really so much army, so mos def choice 1

I wanted to save lives. I knew I had the balls and really it's corny, but I felt the call of duty. The recruiter asked me that, and I said I see these kids blowing up on TV and say I could do that.

He was like blow up?

I was like no, put them back together

TheSpektrum12 karma


ArmyMedic200536 karma

My training at Ft Sam was actually amazing.

Likes_Everything11 karma

How often were you treating patients vs training or just stuck with down time? What was the day to day like out there?

ArmyMedic200528 karma

I did what the infantry did. I stuck with them. I carried a rifle like them. I trained with them before I deployed.

johnnyscans10 karma

What can I do as a future army physician to help you and the boys out? Thank you for this and, more importantly, your service.

ArmyMedic200525 karma

I honestly don't know. I never got along with any of my MDs. I always thought they were shitbags.

I remember this (rinse wash repeat)

I'd show up with a guy who it took 3 weeks of nagging to go see the doc so we could get his knees documented. I'd get there and be told the guy who begs for motrin and leans on me to get out of the turret has actually been faking the whole time and his knees are fine.

shanedoth10 karma

What are you doing these days? Was it difficult to find civilian employment afterward?

ArmyMedic200544 karma

Nothing. I just graduated college, and I'm doing an AMA to burn time

BackAlleyRockstar4 karma

Thank you for your service.

I've heard that there is an increased need for ENTs and traumatic brain injury research because body armor has improved over the years. Did you find that to be your experience?

Also, any thought on the future of military medicine?

ArmyMedic20058 karma

That's no doubt the case.