My Name is Matthew O'Farrell. I deployed to Mosul Iraq, before ISIS took over. I am kind of new to reddit, so I brought my friend with me who was our medic over there. He is very familiar with reddit.

We were in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq during what was called the "surge". Now we're trying to field an innovative system for treatment, by vets for vets. It involves Virtual Reality therapy using the oculus rift.

It works on the time tested principals of exposure therapy, with technology facilitating the exposure environment.

I was a 19K which is a tanker, and he was a 68W which is a medic. We patrolled the streets of Mosul, and trained Iraqi Army soldiers daily. Ask us anything (though obviously there are some questions we can't or won't answer.)

My indiegogo project can be found here

the website is here

and if you want to stay updated, the facebook is here

Edit2 I'm going to copy paste this response here so it doesn't get lost in the mix

Doc here:

Here's the ELI5 version If you're afraid of snakes the shrink might bring a picture of a snake, and a rubber snake and a real snake. First they make you look at the picture of the snake until you stop being afraid of looking at pictures of snakes. Then you hold the rubber snake. Then finally you touch the real snake. That's a LOT harder to do with say a mortar attack, so it's simulated in VR

Here's a video of Dr Albert (Skip) Rizzo explaining the science behind it

Comments: 918 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

CavalrySabre139 karma

I have a couple of questions for you gentlemen...

Questions for the 19K:

What are the best snacks to pack when preparing for a deployment/field prob.?

What does DAT mean and why do the call tankers that?

Do you even lift, bro?

Have you thanked a scout today?

How do you feel on the inside when you see a Cav Scout?

How big is your vagina?

Questions for the Medic:

Somebody told me that I shouldn't eat my own scabs. Is this true?

Sometimes my feet hurt when I ruck for miles on end. How can I grow a vagina big enough to qualify for a reclass from 19D to 19K?


VipRTech138 karma

Fucking Scouts, love you guys.

Thats great man - but I have been retired for a few years now so I dont much give a shit about the scout / tanker, whose is bigger thing much anymore. What I can tell you is that when we were deployed and started losing people, we stopped the childish competitive bullshit and started fighting the enemy. I met some scouts who did shit, and some scouts who sat behind a desk. Some cooks who did shit, and some cooks who sat at the gym. It all depended on the situation they were put in.

P.S. Where did you keep your horse tied up when you went outside the wire, up your ass with your stetson and sabre?

bored2bhereofms118 karma

Hello, could you explain a little more in detail on how you use the oculus rift? It sounds very cool.

VipRTech138 karma

Sure - Oculus Rift was created by a guy named Palmer Lucky. While the concept of virtual reality has been around for a couple decades, the technology has only just caught up to being able to implement it. Palmer did this, and at a price anyone can afford. It is a head mounted display - with positional tracking and gyroscopes that displays a 3d image in front of your face. This makes it feel as if you are "Actually there". There are lots of demos out right now where you are a pilot of a space fighter, and you can look around the cockpit and have dog fights in deep space. Its all very cool.

Facebook bought OculusVR for 2 Billion dollars about 6 months ago - so this technology is going places. Some people are predicting this will be bigger then smart phones. I dont know about that, but VR is coming and coming quickly. Its real exciting.


Peralton61 karma

Can you give a little detail on how you use it for therapy? Thanks!

Edit: I should add that I did look at the website you posted about the exposure therapy. I still don't exactly get how it works with the VR.

VipRTech166 karma

Doc here:

Here's the ELI5 version

If you're afraid of snakes the shrink might bring a picture of a snake, and a rubber snake and a real snake. First they make you look at the picture of the snake until you stop being afraid of looking at pictures of snakes. Then you hold the rubber snake. Then finally you touch the real snake.

That's a LOT harder to do with say a mortar attack, so it's simulated in VR

WhatTheFuh-uh-uh172 karma

So if I'm afraid of naked supermodels...

VipRTech162 karma

I have a simulation for you then, my friend.

BrokenStool47 karma

first you look at a mortar round then you touch then they fire the mortar round at you that would work right?

gettodatchoupa63 karma

First you look at a picture of an explosion, then they play a recording of an explosion, then they blow up the building

loligol78 karma

No no no, he explained it above...

First a picture of an explosion, then a rubber explosion and then the real explosion.

novum_vipera127 karma

then a rubber explosion

Pretty sure that's how half the population is conceived.

VipRTech74 karma

Matt here: You guys are funny. You will never be able to convince someone they are being attacked in a clinical setting. The key is to introduce stimulii (like the explosion sound, or a vehicle exploding, or gunfire, or large crowds) just to invoke SOME of the feelings of PTSD. Then using traditional therapy with a psychologist, you can explore those feelings and help come to closure. Make sense a lil?

icopywhatiwant23 karma


VipRTech52 karma


It can't make you not afraid of actual mortars, but the idea is to desensitize people to the triggers that cause them to be afraid when it's not appropriate because you were mortared in the past. Like if you've learned to become afraid of the tornado siren because it sounds like the incoming alarm, the system would allow you to relive mortar attacks in a safe environment until you're no longer afraid of the tornado siren

ams-198619 karma

How much are you guys in touch with PTSD research? I'm honestly curious about it, as far as what makes someone more predisposed to developing the disorder. I went through 2 deployments to Iraq, was in the surge in Baqubah, seen and did a lot of brutal stuff, and I'm honestly not any different ( I don't think). I've been mortared nightly and had buddies caught in them. I sit through fireworks perfectly fine. I was a Mk.19 gunner in a D company (infanrty). None of the buddies I'm still close with seem to have PTSD. The only guys I know who talk about having PTSD are the ones you would think would have it anyways. I'm curious if there is research into if you can detect predisposition to developing the disorder. I don't think I've ever come across an article really clarifying that. Thanks.

VipRTech25 karma


Matt is heavily in touch with it. He has talked to the leading VR military PTSD researcher in the country.

I have a BS in psych so I get the fundamentals of the therapy.

As far as predisposition, there are factors that make someone higher risk, ADHD is one, for example.

VipRTech24 karma

Matt - I think yes, there should be wars to detect predisposition and above to preemptively treat PTSD before it becomes a problem. Some people, depending on their exact circumstances have different reasons and develop different reactions as a response to danger. I was in plenty of explosions and im pretty good with fireworks...I think my PTSd mainly stems from recovering body parts and that whole mind fuck. Some of my triggers are smells, Cordite, gun powder, barbecue - and things like that. But for someone else it may be different. I think PTSD can be accurately described as tools your mind uses to stay alive that arent properly deprogrammed and thus very much active after coming back from the states.

VipRTech10 karma

-Matt To add to DOCS comment - yes, that is the premise but its an oversimplified answer. They key is to pair the fear response to traditional therapy to reprogram and come to closure with your stimulii. It is human nature to be afraid of loud noises and explosions, and technology isnt going to change 15000 years of evolution - But we can improve skills in reacting to these situations, nd calming down quickly afterward.

mracidglee6 karma

This is a dumb question I know: Isn't being afraid of a mortar attack completely rational?

VipRTech15 karma

Absolutley - But in a war acting in a hostile manner when you hear a loud noise keeps you alive....acting in a hostile manner when you hear a loud noise in America will get you arrested.

ImWhite_Thankfully103 karma

When you trained the Iraqi soldiers did you actually think that they would be able to protect Iraq or were you expecting them to flee like they did when faced with ISIS?

VipRTech213 karma

I was never very hopeful for the IA. They honestly never seemed like they gave a shit, they swung their weapons around like idiots...caught them sleeping on missions. They wewre pretty bad

Behold_a_white_horse156 karma

The Kurdish companies were always a bit impressive, although they looked like idiots when they tried to show off their marching skills to us (they did a crazy little skip thing). But, it was that pride and effort that made them stand out from the regular IA.

metastasis_d83 karma

Agreed; we never got hit by anything once we were in Kurdish held territory.

XTom_ServoX38 karma

I loved missions that took us to D'huk (spelling?). It was like a sigh of relief. Body armor not required after CP2.

metastasis_d65 karma

We had to drop off an interpreter and pick up his replacement en route to the Turkish border once. Our LT, who was a dork, called it Operation Off Dahok.

VipRTech20 karma

1st Cav?>

Saffs1517 karma

We're you guys 1st Cav? My unit relieved 1st Cav, and then got relieved by 1st Cav in Mosul. (I also happened to be a 19K.)

Edit: Just saw your post confirming it. Don't think it was you guys we relieved, we were a couple years later then that. However we were out of Fort Bliss, and I had a buddy there who deployed out of Bliss to Mosul with 1st Cav in that time frame. Might have a mutual friend.

VipRTech16 karma

C Company 2/7 1st Cav

VipRTech31 karma

Haha, I spent some time is dahuk' (Spelling) We used to buy xanax and black jack liquer there. Yes, the kurdish people were good people generally, which is why it is sad to see them persecuted nowadays.

VipRTech102 karma

Alright guys, we are done for today....We will try and do this again next week. Thanks again for all your support. Please upvote this to show topic is closed. Matt

Dorfalicious85 karma

My dad was deployed twice as a doctor. He came back completely shell shocked. I worry about his memory and his ability to do his job sometimes now. How often do they check mental status of high ranking doctors? Is there a way to know he is ok? He doesnt really speak to me all that often but when he does he is 'off'. The medics see some bad stuff. He thought he would be prepared but I don't think there really is any way to prepare yourself for war unless you have already dealt with it

VipRTech77 karma

Doc here:

I'm in no way qualified to answer that. I don't know anything more about what happens in a hospital than I know what goes on in the pentagon. I know that at the platoon level the medics and the PSGs take classes to recognize the signs and symptoms, so if you see something you say something. I would hope it was the same at the hospital level.

Thinkyt84 karma

This is going to sound horrid/bizarre/inappropriate, but did you ever see or hear stories of animals being used as weapons (e.g. bombs strapped) at all out there?

VipRTech149 karma

Doc here:

Yes, it's called an ABIED (animal borne improvised explosive device) usually it's more or less a satchel charge on a donkey. I never saw one myself, but we were briefed about the existence of said weapons. Generally they detonated them in marketplaces.

boyohboyoboy70 karma

How do you feel about your time in Mosul in light of what's going on there right now?

VipRTech179 karma

Its a bit disheartening for sure - but we gave the people there a few more years of "freedom" - And I say that a bit tounge in cheek. Of course, during war time it isn't anywhere near peace, but at least they didn't have people rounding them up for mass executions and beheadings.

But I am proud of my time I spent there - but it is sad to know a lot of the locals we had befriended are probably dead right now. A lot of the interpreters and azidi people we knew are most likely dead right now.


forgotmyaccount0151 karma

I've heard of a lot of guys using helmet mounted cameras and hanging on to the footage afterwards. What's the legality behind this and how common is the use of these cameras?

VipRTech90 karma

From Matt: Man you have a lot of good questions. We recieved a briefing to NOT record anything and post it on the web. Unfortunately the guys who made those rules sat behind a desk on the base so they didnt have much say on what we we did or did not do. So I was one of those guys who recorded stuff, and made music videos. You can see it here.

Remember I was younger and in a different state of mind when I made and posted these. There are very cheesy parts. The explosions happen around the 1:30 min mark.

As far as legality, there are rules against showing the faces of the the deceased - and you need to be VERY careful not to show anything that give up your tactics or any secret or classfiied information. Then there is the ethical and moral decisions on what to show - and we had to use our best judgements.

Territomauvais11 karma

At the 1:56 mark where the insurgent is launching mortars back to back, could you or someone please explain what the hell was going on (why/how you/he filmed it) and what happened to the insurgent? Bigger, more accurate US mortar? Grenade? What about friendly fire!?

No, really I've watched a bit of combat footage and I'm confused. I've to say that was actually an extremely interesting video, despite you being younger and in a different state of mind :P

VipRTech29 karma

Ah yea, we confiscated that video from an insurgent, thats not my personal footage, but something I saw and said "Oh shit, thats going in the video" Hope I cleared that up - Oh and the insurgent had a hot mortar tube and the next round detonated inside the tube killing him.

madcat109047 karma

Doc, was there ever a time you were treating someone you knew wouldn't make it, yet survived? Or perhaps had the inverse happen?

VipRTech87 karma

Doc here:

I had a horseshoe up my ass the whole time, and no one got hit in my platoon. Matt's platoon got hit when I was still working for command, and I was out there but there was no one to treat. That having been said, yes.

A local was hit during a mass casualty and I initially ran past him to help other wounded because I just assumed he was dead already. One of the Iraqi Army guys realized he was still breathing and I went back to help him out, but there was literally nothing I could do. He was so close to the blast that the safety glass from the car window had penetrated through the knit in his sweater. That guy just wasn't going to make it. I've also come up to people who I went to check for a pulse and then their head flopped over and it had a bullet in it.

_The_Professor_42 karma

What are the odds someone named "Doc" would become a medic? Must be astronomical . . . like how Lou Gehrig got Lou Gehrig's disease!

VipRTech88 karma

HaHaHa - Yea, everyone that a medic is Doc - like First Sgts are "Top" and privates are "Hey Fucker"

FLIMWAD37 karma

Hey doc, are you a medical super private first class?

VipRTech62 karma

Doc here, I was a specialist in rank and my job title was "healthcare specialist" That tricked some people at the recruiter's station, there were people in training who thought they were going to be like, handing out vitamins or something, then they get to AIT and that's the first time they hear the phrase "combat medic"

FLIMWAD27 karma

Oh wow. Did the confusion lead to people leaving? Also the rank I mentioned was a Red vs Blue reference

VipRTech48 karma

I see, no, no one left or washed out because of it, but there were some people who were scared of being a combat medic

Also that explains why I didn't catch it. I haven't watched red vs blue in like 7 years

meatball270234 karma

How was your view of American occupation of Iraq before you were deployed and headed stayed the same since you've spent time there, and also how are your interaction with the civilian population of Iraq while you were there, do you have some positive experience or negative experience?

VipRTech110 karma

I absolutely must say that I had some wonderful experiences with some of the civilian population. That is Christian and Islamic both. There are some great people over there, very hospitable and very gracious.

I think our media in america tends to paint a very uncivilized picture of society over there, but that is not my experience.

People are just doing what they are doing all over the world - trying to have a happy life.

When I was deployed I probably had a poorer view of our occupation then I do now. Our government saw things like ISIS coming from a mile away, and as soon as we deoccupied look what happened. Mass genocides, beheadings, murders. I think our occupation help stave this off for a few years.

I am sad for the people who we met that are now dead. There were, and still are, a population of good people with radicals mixed in. I just hope they find peace.

snsv34 karma

Have you read Generation Kill or watched the HBO series?

How realistic was that portrayal?

VipRTech51 karma

I remember watching it when I got back.. Like everything else, some of it was sensationalized, some was realistic. I liked the godfather guy with the raspy voice. But that covered the invasion as I remember it, and it was a different battleground when I got there. Hope I answered your question.

szepaine32 karma

On the flip side of another question that was asked, what was the best thing you ever saw while deployed? Thanks for your service!

VipRTech118 karma

Doc here:

Hmm... I guess that would have to be kids laughing. There was this time where we had to go in this families house and stay there for a while and the LT was trying to put the family at ease.

The week before we'd been talking about going to the bar and I said "I don't like taking shots because I can drink all night but shots mess up my juggling act" and LT said "You juggle?" and the PSG said, not that kind of juggling LT. Well I guess that didn't sink in, because the LT came and got me and asked me to juggle for the kids to put them at ease.

I told him, LT I can't juggle that was a misunderstanding, and he says that he promised the kids I was going to do a trick and now he's on the spot. I took a rubber glove and put it on my head and started to blow it up like Howie Mandel did back in the day. Then O'Farrell snuck up on me and popped it with his cigarette and after that the kids were fine. They knew we were too goofy to be killers.

Sir_Beelzebub30 karma

What was the worst thing you saw?

VipRTech70 karma

A lot of things tie for 1st place in that regard. Doc has probably seen some other stuff - The worst thing I saw though was the bodies of my friends scattered all over a road in the middle of the city. A 2000lb bomb exploded under the humvee behind me killing everyone inside and throwing pieces of bodies everywhere. Thats the event that caused a lot of my PTSD. On a gruesome scale, we saw a few bodies that had been cut up by insurgents (Local Bodies), and they put them in potato sacks and stuffed them in the trunk.

Another time a 240 round destroyed this guys head and his eyeball was lying on the dashboard.

That all is some terrible stuff.

Sir_Beelzebub28 karma

I'm sorry you had to experience that, do you ever regret going there?

VipRTech73 karma

Not a single day.

I think we did good things over there. It helped build me into the person I am today. I learned a lot about human nature - about loyalty and friendship. About pain, of the citizens of a country at war. About laughter crossing language barriers - about hate.

Its actually a difficult question to answer. But no, I don't regret any it. I just regret their wasnt more I could have done to help.

VipRTech52 karma

Doc here:

I don't know what qualifies as worst. I was in a convoy when a VBIED (exploding car) went off. It didn't hurt any of us or the Iraqi army guys in our convoy, but it leveled some bystanders on the street. Really most of their weapons did a lot more damage to the locals than us. I was putting a guy back together, his leg was nearly amputated and he had numerous holes in his chest I was occluding with tape, and he kept tugging at my elbow and I looked in his eyes. They were light blue and I could see from the look in his eyes he thought he was going to die.

I kept him alive long enough for the locals to take him off to their hospital, but that look was pretty haunting. As far as what Matt is talking about that was bad too.

Here's an article Christopher Hitchens wrote about it for Vanity Fair (no gore/worksafe)

jjthecerealkiller15 karma

I have read this article so many times, because it is so good. I know the Daily family, and Mark was a really good guy. If you get the chance, I recommend reading the essay he wrote before he was deployed.

VipRTech13 karma

Doc here:

I never got a chance to meet Mark. It was because of that event that I ended up being moved to that platoon to fill in for the shortage. By all accounts he was a pretty cool guy.

VipRTech4 karma

Matt: I knew Mark for a brief time when he became our LT. He was very funny, and brave dude. We all think very highly of him and think of him all the time. I just which I had time to get to know him better - but I thank him and his family everyday for their sacrifice.

julianlau28 karma

What was the first "normal" thing you did when you came home after the deployment?

VipRTech75 karma

Doc here:

Our company's FRG (family readiness group) had waiting for us in our barracks rooms, a towel, a bar of soap and a 6 pack of beer. That's the coolest thing I've ever heard of a FRG doing

oahmed6427 karma

As isis continues to make incredible gains of large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, do you think the US airstrikes will be of any effect on them and what do you think the future of isis is?

VipRTech45 karma

Its hard to say - It looks like the future of ISIS as a credible fighting force is surely cementing itself.

I also don't think airstrikes are going to be as effective as we hope they are. I dont think there is a real answer here - its too complex a question.

Do I think ISIS will be around for a while - Yes Do I think they are competent - Yes

But, I also believe they are brutal and evil. And I believe evil always eventually loses. It goes back and forth, but in the end good always triumphs. Thats what I believe anyway. -Matt

jmcmaster22 karma


I thought I read somewhere that they already had some VR related therapy applications for working with Veterans. Doesn't this already exist? If so, what do you guys offer with this new tool that isn't already available at current.

VipRTech48 karma

University of Southern California has a genius named Skip Rizzo that has been doing this for years. This guy is really good and really talented - he is pretty much the pioneer in this field. I have an enormous amount of respect.

Unfortunatly, the answer to treating PTSD isnt going to come form one team doing one focus of research - it is going to come from many teams doing concurrent research to increase how effective the treatment is.

This is a brand new field, in terms of medical applications. It is in its infancy and there is an enormous area to grow.

To answer more directly, we are using a game engine, and focusing on using Oculus Rift. This will keep our costs significantly less then other systems and we can customize them to a soldiers individual experience.

It also helps to have a veteran who has been through some of these things and suffers from symptoms relating to it.

wearcleandraws21 karma

how does your PTSD manifest itself in everyday life ?

VipRTech50 karma

Doc here:

It's very individual to the person. My PTSD was more of a overly ready posture. I over react to normal things and am easily provoked. I have an overactive adrenaline response and I have trouble sleeping.

I often joke to my friends it's like this

forgotmyaccount0119 karma

What was the motiviation behind the Iraqi Soldiers enlisting? Were they participating because they genuinely wanted to make a difference? Did they seem indifferent to any sort of cause? Were they doing it just for the pay?

Edit: Seems like you answered a similar question above. Modified question.

VipRTech34 karma

You know, I dont know. They seemed like they didnt give a shit. I think they had no faith in their leadership so they didnt care- they were getting food and a paycheck. But the thing was, they were getting killed all the time. It was wierd

DBDude18 karma

I was in a tank unit during the M1A1, although not a tanker myself. How much better is the M1A2? Did it get any more crew friendly, or did they just up the tech?

VipRTech18 karma

You know, sometimes the older technology is more reliable...It seems every other day(When we were training) we were replacing the computers and shit on the SEP (M1A2) - The marines still use the M1A1 as I understand it. So alot of electronics updates, including Commander upgrades...but not much to help crew comfortability. I believe the M1A1 had no air conditioner, but really neither did the A2 - it just kept the electronics cool and functional and not the crew.

LennyRabbitz14 karma

How were you treated by the locals? I often hear that some civilians welcome US military personnel while others treat them horribly.

VipRTech61 karma

Doc here:

It all depends. The first place I was in Iraq was a remote Kurdish village. They ran outside and held the kids up so they could see us like it was a parade. The kids always ran and screamed at us because they knew we threw candy at them. I taught them obscene hand gestures to display to the Americans.

We actually had a picture on one of the trucks with a picture of "the shocker" hand signal followed by an equal sign and a drawing of a peppermint candy. I'm kind of stupid about stuff like that.

yarzan13 karma

To Doc, when your parents named you Doc, were they clairevoyent?

VipRTech80 karma

Maybe it's the other way around. I grew into my name

Yeah, I feel bad for my sister Latrina Cleana though.

marrakoosh12 karma

When I read the first part of the title, I asked the question - I did not know they needed veterinarians in Mosul Iraq!? That blew my mind.

Then I realised you are referring to 'veterans'.

So real question - are the Iraqi Army soldiers genuinely engaged in learning from you guys and learning to deal with all the shit themselves? Or is it hard to motivate them and/or they're resentful?

VipRTech5 karma

Haha - They were incredible hard to motivate. You have the language barrier, but you could tell they just didnt give a shit either. On top of that, these people were being rounded up and killed when we werent around (For working with us) so I dont pretend to understand their mindset.

mRNA-12 karma

First off, thank you for serving our country! I'm interested in enlisting in the militrary as well, but as a physician. What are the roles of a military physician? How are on-field EMS systems structured? Is it like the movies where everyone is screaming for medics while tanks give them cover? I'm sorry if I sound ignorant on the matter, but I'm very curious!

VipRTech30 karma

Doc here:

The PA and doctor whose license I worked under never left the wire. Wounded personnel went directly to the hospital and they never saw them. I was embedded in a platoon that went out on missions. The only civilian certification I got was EMT-B. Mostly what we would do is package someone up to keep them from immediately bleeding out and secure an airway so they could be rushed to the CASH (think MASH like the show, but in a hardened structure)

forgotmyaccount0111 karma

When you were deployed, did you have "off" days, or are you considered on-duty 24/7/365? What was your typical down-time like?

VipRTech24 karma

It was the craziest schedule of my life. Sometimes we would wake up at 2 AM and go on mission til 9 AM knocking down doors - then come back and eat breakfast, go out on another mission at 3PM til 7, eat dinner, then sleep for like a whole day. When we woke up we would do a completely different schedule. It was difWe had lots of downtime, and so I played video games, hung out with friends, watched movies - mostly slept. It was insane - and the variety of missions was crazy too. Sometimes we would patrol, sometimes kick down doors. Other times we would infil by helicopter and seige a town, the get picked up in a different helicopter... It was exciting

forgotmyaccount019 karma

Thanks for the in depth responses!

Most memorable mission?

VipRTech81 karma

Doc here:

There are so many. I never come off cool in my stories though. Sometimes in other people's stories I'm cool, but in mine I always sound like a big stupid idiot.

The one that stands out right now is this one because Matt alluded to it.

We were being picked up in a blackhawk. My seatbelt didn't work and I was sitting on the outside so I was the last to get in and I couldn't tell anyone because they were spinning pretty hard by the time I got in.

First you should know this about me. I don't like heights. I'm able to deal with it, but I don't like it, so I'm not at my best thinky-wise. I could have unlaced a boot and tied my seat. I could have borrowed one of the climbing carabiners the other guys used to put their weapon on their armor. Instead I just latch on to Matt who was sitting next to me and put my foot up on the door thinking "This will be the time some idiot fires an RPG at a helicopter and they're going to bank hard to my side and I'm going to fall out and die the stupidest death in Iraq. That was a pretty white knuckler for me

BulletForMyHalloween11 karma

Hey guys, just wondering what unit where you with when you deployed?

1Cav medic checking in.

VipRTech15 karma

we were also cav. Garryowen

valtambok10 karma

How many tours did you do back in Iraq? And what are your plans in the future?

VipRTech28 karma

I served a lot less then others...Just one tour. We lost 5 guys from my 18 man platoon the first 2 months, picking up body parts screwed up my head a bit. When I got back I started having some issues dealing with my emotions, I was pretty angry. Turns out a lot of that was PTSD - but I tried to stay in. They told me it would be better for everyone if I was medically retired, so without much other choice that's what I did.

For the future, I am trying to get this Virtual Reality software out to help veterans that are coming back - there are a lot of guys who are having PTSD problems. And there are not enough resources, so I think this has real potential to help out a lot of guys.

I have a new son, and just moved into a house. I am in school, and I am trying to enjoy my life while honoring my brothers who died.

Atiesh10 karma

What video games do you like?

VipRTech13 karma


Matt and I have been playing a lot of DOTA together lately

call_me_bropez9 karma

What is the lamest MOS in the Army and why is a tie between both 19 series?

delta_2612 karma

Must be a 11B

VipRTech10 karma

God damn 11 Bangs Bangs, never met one I didnt like but they have a mouth on them.

hunkydorey_ca8 karma

You guys ever play TF2 (Team Fortress 2)? There is nothing like having a heavy and a doctor... PTSD is no joke.. (except George Carlin's skit with his play on words on why they keep desensitizing the symptoms by changing the name of it)

VipRTech5 karma

Heavy and a Doctor - Tank and Medic - Ha. Doc plays it all the time, at least he used to. I never really got into it.

1djjo17 karma

Have you been on the inside of a LAV? I was looking into becoming an armoured commander but being 6'5" I am pretty sure I would not be able to fit. Do you think I would fit at all?

VipRTech18 karma

I do not think you will fit very well :P

OnBathSaltsAMA7 karma

How much do you want to be 11 series and why weren't you able to?

VipRTech31 karma


I couldn't suck the golf ball down the garden hose

VipRTech12 karma

Matt: I didnt know how awesome being an 11B was. The movies make it seem like they are storming the beaches of normandy without ammunition - played like pawns with no equipment - sent to your death.

I was wrong - Every 11B I met was awesome, and while I enjoyed being an abrams crewmember : If I had it to do over again I would go Bang Bang.

If your thinking of going in, dont believe the BS. 11B is a sick ass job .

Also I suck at running, im not fat, just shitty at running.

95WithMovement7 karma

I was deployed to Mosul (just south, in Q-West, actually) as part of the invasion force from 2003-04. We drove up from Kuwait as part of the spearhead (an infantry battalion in the 101st).

I was a medical platoon leader and would often go to Mosul for resupply and stupid meetings.

Once, a buddy and I ate lunch in a local restaurant in Mosul WITHOUT NEEDING TO WEAR OUR HELMETS OR BODY ARMOR. Only a few months after that, another buddy was killed in an IED attack while driving around in Mosul, not too far from where I'd eaten lunch.

My question: what were the most dramatic changes you saw in Mosul during your time there?

Edit: changed unit identifier.

VipRTech6 karma

When we got there, everything went to hell in a hand basket. The surge had just happened in Baghdad, and we were a new unit coming in so a large number of fighters migrated north. We were easier targets, and less of us. The unit before us had something like 4 batallions for Mosul, We did the same job with 1 (800 Boots outside wire) So things ramped up pretty quick. I was attacked twice on Christmas morning, which was fun. Other then that, the biggest change was the slow gradual change as our deployment went on. It went from ultra shitty, to moderately shitty as we became more effective. Hope I answered your question.

halihs6 karma

Hello guys. I have some questions for Doc. Did you go to Fort Sam Houston for AIT? (I know combat medics get trained there, I'm just not sure if they all go there). Also, how well would you say your training prepared you for the field?

EDIT: I decided to add the reason why I asked this question.

I was in the National Guard and went to Fort Sam Houston in 2006. My mos was 91W, which was combat medic, not sure when it changed to 68W. I have depression, (I am aware that you cannot join with depression. I lied about it. I accidentally mentioned to my recruiter that I had taken anti-depressants, and then I lied some more saying it was when I was a child. Then I lied some more and said I wasn't able to find my medical records. Terrible idea folks!) anxiety, ADD, and horrible short term as well as long term memory. I only went to drill for about 6 months before going awol and was discharged in 2008. I asked this question because I often think back to my training experiences and many what ifs come to mind, like what if I had stayed?

I have been feeling extremely guilty about this for years. I'm sorry OP that I was a coward, but thankful that you weren't. This brings me to a new question: what is your honest opinion on people that have gone awol?

VipRTech7 karma

Did you go to Fort Sam Houston for AIT?

They all go there. It is "the home of Army medicine"

Also, how well would you say your training prepared you for the field?

It didn't. I got 16 weeks of training, 12 of which were studying for the NREMT, which teaches you how to run a civilian ambulance. It's a LOT of sticking each other with IV needles too. My left arm has all kinds of valves in the veins like a reformed junkie that came from people messing up on me.

Then there was 4 weeks of running lanes, which I guess is as good as can be expected for 20 days of training. Everything useful I learned I learned from the senior medic in my company who was from the 82nd and had a few deployments under his belt.

Calm_Your_Nips6 karma

What was the most common thing to see, hear, smell, etc. and what was the most annoying?

Thanks, and I would like to thank you both for your service.

VipRTech13 karma

Doc here:

The answer to all of those questions is poop.

This is how the sewage system works in Iraq. The waste goes down a 4" PVC drain pipe much like the one that's probably in your house. then it goes out to the front gate and onto the sidewalk. At the bottom of the hill it collects and forms black sludge and algae blooms like septic tank runoff.

VipRTech4 karma

For me - Cordite, GunPowder, Barbecues - Bright Lights - Explosions (Mostly cracks)

Jimmythebob6 karma


VipRTech9 karma


I wouldn't want to do that without a licensed PsyD. What if you trigger something and start up a flashback? Would a layman be able to de-escalate someone?

wpn964 karma


VipRTech7 karma


Surprisingly little. Most of the stuff I really learned I learned from my unit, not in the school house

NeoTokyo_Nori4 karma

Hello, what is your view on fps games (cod, bf, etc), as a soldier?

How popular are they as recreation activity during deployment, and what is the actual military policy regarding its use ? since I suspect they could have negative training effects, because certain game-mechanics just do not reflect real weapons manipulation or combat situation realities..

VipRTech7 karma

Great question. There is no policy regarding what you can and can not play. Surprisingly, while the mechanics are very different, the team mechanics and cooperation mimic real llife - If you want to succeed, you work togather. You learn to multitask and prioritize targets. You learn to respond quickly, and assess threats. So there are certain things that transfer well over to real life, and some things that dont.

Citisol3 karma

I was in Ramadi during the surge. We're you guys 3rd ID or 4th ID?

VipRTech2 karma

We were Cav

Citisol2 karma

You guys had a rough one up there. My buddy lost his BC in a VBIED. Crazy.

VipRTech5 karma


This guy? If so, he was a hell of a guy

This is the platoon I trained with in garrison

Paperfoldingfreak3 karma

I want to be a medic in the army, are there any tips you can give?

VipRTech5 karma

Matt: Secure an airway, Stop the bleeding, transport. Also get to know your 9-Line medivacs. Also, listen to the guys who have been deployed

happyneandertal3 karma

What was your "oh shit, that was crazy!" moment?

VipRTech11 karma

I had a couple - The the humvee behind me exploded killing everyone inside was definately an oh shit moment. Then guilt because I started eating candy (I know, an illogical response to the situation) I cant tell you how unreal that day felt - and the implications it had. The fact my friends wouldnt get to see their family, wondering where their souls went, wondering why it wasnt me instead, wondering if it hurt. It was definately an oh shit day. But there were a couple days just like it,

patricksaurus2 karma

At the risk of sounding naive, are there people who come back from combat without PTSD? I've been reading news accounts and watching the videos made by soldiers for about a decade now and all I can think is, wouldn't everyone who lived through that be severely traumatized? Among the people you know, how common or uncommon is it?

I think this is a fantastic idea and I hope both the treatment and your business are successful.

VipRTech3 karma

According to randcorp's study which is the gold standard on data about this, it's only about 20% who come back with PTSD

Here are some numbers for you

will_grammar_forfood2 karma

How did Doc get his nickname?

VipRTech5 karma


I was born with a tail and they couldn't cut the whole thing off

metastasis_d1 karma

What years were you there? I was in Q-West from 08-09 and ran scores of convoys throug Mosul up to Habur Gate. Stayed in Marez/Diamondback many many times. Fuck mortars.

Also, fuck Checkpoint 7 on MSR Tampa just north of the city, and fuck the giant burn pit full of toxic waste just south of the city.

VipRTech2 karma


We were there right before you.

Also Tampa... there's something I haven't thought about in a long time.

LennyRabbitz-1 karma

Why do the radicals do the things they do? Exploding donkeys in marketplaces, 2000 pound IEDs, what is the motive for this?

VipRTech7 karma

Doc here:

Not to be flippant, but why does anyone do anything? I could tell you some fancy stuff about ethnic groups and borders and all that stuff, like the people who claim they know why people hurt each other but who really knows?

Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, 'Why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand.

-HumansAreCancer--9 karma

Found any WMDs yet ? How does it feel to know ur government is using you to fight illegal wars in the name of the profit? Any regrets about US military losing its honor so meekly ? How does it feel being a glorified mercenary ?

VipRTech6 karma

Mercenaries get paid better

Also Saddam was non complaint with UN weapons inspectors for 12 years, then another year after the US put forth the ultimatum to let the inspectors back in, or be in violation of the terms of the cease fire.

There are two things that could have happened in those 12 years

1) Saddam, the only dictator to use Chemical weapons on his own people saw the error of his ways and without any kind of oversight voluntarily didn't make any