Thursday, August 25, 2005
In the Sandbox...
Heroes in the Rear Echelon
"I am a retired Special Forces soldier who spent a lot of time on patrol in Vietnam. At night we felt much more secure outside the wire. Inside the wire we would get mortared and receive sniper fire constantly.
I am a KBR contractor now and I believe it is the same situation at Camp Anaconda.
During the battle of Fallujah, I listened for three nights in a row to a steady stream of Chinooks flying in pairs loaded with wounded and dying heroes. I was privileged to help provide housing for coalition medics, nurses and doctors, ambulance crews and other medical personnel.
One Air Force surgeon was at the operating table 30 hours straight, and I helped carry a 52-year-old Air Force Reserve nurse to his room who had been there 17 hours. He couldn’t walk because of a recent knee operation that had not healed but he kept doing his job in the emergency room until he collapsed.
I have seen new arrivals run for bunkers while mortars landed around their air-conditioned housing area as they were unloading their bags. I have seen Air Force medics go to work as soon as they got off the bus from the airstrip and before we could even assign them a room.
No doubt that some of the rear echelon support personnel inside the wire have it a little easier in some ways than the ones outside, but they are no less the heroes in my book. If a movie or an entertainment group takes their minds away from their heroic duties for a few hours, then Morale, Welfare and Recreation needs to provide them with the best."
-Donald “Pat” Phagan
Camp Anaconda, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)
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