Monday, August 2, 2010

The Luck of the.......Afghans?

Things have been going ok at FOB Lagman as we wind down our deployment. We’ve been getting a few patients here and there and when we don’t have patients the time sure drags. Well, the past 24 hours have NOT been dragging. We’ve had several patients and there is one in particular I would like to tell you about.

I returned from dinner last night and, as usual, after watching some guys throw a few darts (no body armor this time) I went to my room with the hopes of getting to finish watching Galaxy Quest that I started watching earlier that day (Judi loved it and I still haven’t seen it from beginning to end). Well, that plan was foiled when I overheard one of our corpsmen say, “we’re getting an urgent patient in two minutes!” Another one of those Afghanistan surprises. So, I jumped out of my bed and headed for the FST wondering what was in store for us now. I overheard some folks outside the door mumbling something about an 8 month old being shot in the face. Wonderful! When you hear the words “8 month old” and “shot in the face” the things that run through your mind are not good. She arrived with a dressing covering her entire face with blood on the outside (oh, shit), but appeared to be otherwise well. The first news is that she is actually 3 years old, not 8 months, and she did not have any other wounds that we could see. So, after looking her over and getting her vital signs it was time to take off the dressing. While we began to cut the dressing off I started thinking to myself, “this is going to look horrible.” To my surprise she had only two small holes in her check (assumed to be entrance and exit wounds). It appeared the bullet entered just in front of her ear and exited the middle of her cheek, not even piercing into the inside of her mouth. It was really unbelievable. What a lucky young girl to have such small wounds from a gunshot to the face. A half an inch one way and the bullet hits major arteries and/or veins and a half inch the other way and it's in her brain - neither of those scenarios ends well. I’m hoping some of that luck rubbed off onto us. Similar to a previous young girl we cared for, I don’t recall her crying much either.

After I realized that she was going to be alright I started thinking about how this would play out back home if it happened to one of my neices who are about the same age and I can't imagine it. But here, in Afghanistan, its not that big of a deal. This little girl was accompanied by her twenty-something older brother and he showed absolutely zero emotion throughout the entire ordeal. It's really an odd dynamic and one I am glad I won't have to endure much longer.

Since I mentioned darts, here is a picture of the new dart board backing the commissioner and assistant commissioner recently purchased and plan to leave as a memento for the team that relieves us.

Left to Right; Dart Commissioner Cheuk Hong and Assistant Dart Commissioner Shane Lawson

We also have a new addition to our team. Last week we welcomed 7 new Air Force personnel, 3 nurses and 4 medics, and they have been nothing short of fantastic. They "hit the deck running" as we say in the Navy and have jumped right into caring for the casualties and assuming many of the additional duties the Navy team had been performing. I am a big fan. Below is a picture.

Left to Right; SRA Anderson, SSGT Sneed, SRA Murtagh, MAJ Clark, TSGT Cole, MAJ Garcia, and CPT Cox

I want to wish my mother, Ginger, a happy birthday. She turned seventy-something yesterday.

Finally, I can't remember being this excited about the start of NFL training camp. Casualties-permitting I will be immersed in everything NFL, I just wish I didn't have to rely on Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac for the majority of my Steelers news.

Take Care,



  1. UJ it is almost time for you to come home we all miss ya will you be coming to carrolltown? and gram was 75 on sunday

  2. i will be in ctown. the one thing i am looking forward to most after kissing my wife and hugging my dog is seeing josh fees tote the rock.