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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reflection on Iraq 2008

Now that it's been 3 years since I left Fort Benning on a huge transport plane bound for Iraq, I've had plenty of time to reflect on those who have had multiple tours both before and after mine as well as those who sacrificed their lives and limbs.  The reflection always leaves me exhausted because I've had a chance to hear many more stories about things that went on in the FST's (Forward Surgical Teams) and the CSH's (Combat Surgical Hospitals).  I did not participate as fully as I had hoped I would as an activated Reservist OBGYN doctor, but I was happy to be able to contribute even a little to the medical support of our troops down-range.  Those who serve our Nation in uniform are my heroes, and I have to say that the combat medics inspire me the most.  Theirs is a long and distinguished tradition of service and sacrifice to save the lives of their buddies in combat.

There are many examples in history where combat medics earned distinction.  I found one such amazing soldier from WWII, PFC Frederick Murphy.  His story is laid out on the Army Medical Department's history website.  He was wounded so many times in the course of a single battle at Saarlautern, Germany, that it defies the imagination as to how he saved so many lives.  Ultimately, he could not save his own and was awarded the Medal of Honor.  His story is worth reading as are the countless other accounts of valor under fire.

I salute all my fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen for their selfless service - there is no draft, and it's an all-volunteer effort now.  Even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wage on, recruiting efforts continue to have success because America still has many heroes yet unsung, and unborn.


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