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The worst day of our lives

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by three_bags_full, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    This is from a very good friend of mine, with whom I deployed to Afghanistan. He and I share the same birthday. Today. We were flying together on the worst day of our lives. I copied this from his Facebook page. PTSD is real. And it's a motherfucker.

    Why I hate my Birthday.
    Every year as my birthday comes around I dread it. It is just a reminder of the worst day of my life. The day most people celebrate, I just loathe as it is just brings pain and memories that I wish I never had. I have Chronic Severe PTSD and am proud to say I am still making progress with it and am down from 7 different pills everyday to now just 5. Depression for me is still one of the hardest things for me to fight. as today was wearing down to me a good friend called and sang one of the sweetest heart felt happy birthday to me. He doesn't know it but it brought me to tears. I was beating myself up and he called at the perfect time. The emotional hot mess that I am, I am trying to work through it.
    I am hoping writing this out and putting this out there is more therapeutic for me then anything else. I am tired of being a miserable asshole and want to be more stable and happy again. I am doing this for my son, he deserves to have a father that is stable and that can put his issues before my own. So far, for me talking about the thing that are bothering me helps more then anything else. For Bryer and myself I am getting this off my chest to try and make this mountain just a hurdle.

    It all happened back in 2010 while deployed in Afghanistan. I had just come back from R&R and was getting back to the norm. Even though being deployed our unit was really good about letting people have their birthdays off to have a little something nice even though deployed. It was the day before my birthday and in the CP area and there being a discussion about the duty schedule and how at the time crews were limited due to duty restrictions and on going missions. My platoon Sargeant realized I was back from R&R and asked that they had no one else to pull duty and that even though it was my birthday if I would go on duty. To which they said it was second up and there were no training flights and things had been calming down, so hopefully it would be a relaxing duty cycle. I agreed and had no problem coming on duty seeing as I had just come back from R&R and they needed me. It was my job and I loved my job and I loved being relied on. But little did I know this birthday would be a day I would live to forget.

    Coming on duty 1st Up and 2nd Up crews along with Chase crews meet up for daily briefings and then head to the aircraft for aircract checks and equipment checks and run the aircraft up(making sure the helicopter works and flies correctly). As we are in the middle of check the radios go off with the instant heart racing "Medevac, Medevac, Medevac!" for my crew it initially doesn't mean much as we are not 1st Up and aren't the priority for taking missions, that lies with 1st Up. But as they try to get the aircraft started it kept stalling out and wouldn't start. Time was running out as we require crews to launch on missions under 15 minutes to ensure the patient receives care under the "golden hour" which is vital for trauma patient survival. We are then tasked with taking the mission. This would be the beginning to a very long day. It was a COP outside of Kandahar city in the Arghandob Valley that had been attacked. The patient was an young American Soldier Spc Alexis Maldonado. From what was told to me was in a tower and been hit with an RPG which had hit his left lateral chest. When we landed just outside the compound they were still under attack to which that wasn't relayed to us until later the day on another mission. We land and the litter team rushes from behind the walls of the compund to our aircraft with what appears to be a hectic scene of litter barriors and a medic actively working on the patient while still running to the aircraft. I remember getting the report from the medic and slamming the door and turning around to my crew chief doing compressions. As we both feverishly doing CPR his bandages start to come off and we start to see what appears to be lung and diaphragm matter coming out with every compression we do. The lifeless expression on his face will be forever burned into my memory. I do everything I am allowed to do to bring life back into his body but half way to the Hospital Role 3 we lost all vitals from him. We have a motto we live by in the Medevac community that "no patient dies on our aircraft" well unfortunately this day I failed that, and will two more times before the day is over. We drop off our patient and continue back to our parking area

    As soon as we get back to our CP we are again alerted to "Medevac, Medevac, Medevac!" 1st Up is out on a mission and so again we are launched. We are headed back to the compound we just came from. An Afghan National Army Soldier had been hit by a mortar. On the way out to the compound we are in the green valley again and as we approach the compound we are doing Wells maneuvers and as we are on approch we ank hard left which exposes my window to the ground and as I am looking out I see these two assholes shooting at us. My response to I remember calling out to my crew members and laughing while doing it.....why was I laugh....I have no fucking clue... I just remember looking at them and calling out in the mix I am laughing...
    Again we land and I see the litter team rushing the aircraft in the same manner as before, and all I can think is "ahhh shit! not again!" this time no medic for report as one of the soldiers said "were still under attack getting mortars and to get the fuck out of here!"

    I remember relaying that to the pilots and as I am in the back and give the door secure all that happens is I am slammed to the flour of the aircraft as the aircraft I swear jumps to god know how high how fast but I struggle to grasp onto anything to pull myself up. We were out of that area doing MACH 2 I swear!! I uncover my Afghan patient to find his left leg looking like a cartoon turkey leg we all saw while growing up, just a bunch of meat and then a huge section of clean bone to the end. This was no joke and extremely serious situation. I again am doing everything I have ever been taught to save a life. Again, half way through the flight I loose all signs of life, but my crew chief and I refuse to stop working on him. We drop off the patient and we return to our parking pad and this time we get to sit down and now eat lunch.

    An hour or so after the last mission we get launched again for another mission. This time our flight surgeon joins us, seeing as we have had our hands full so far that day. The location this time is a Canadian base with another Afghan Soldier who was shot in the thigh and chest, honestly I dont quite remember the injury, this is because what happens next has nothing to do with the injury so much, but what happend to him after the injury. I remember in the info about the patient saying that he was intubated. When we arrive to the Canadian compound I am surprised to see the patient is walking around. When I am briefed by the Canadian P.A. He tell me he gave the patient three rounds of RSI medications(which to the average person this is a cocktail of medications to sedate and paralyze the patient to intubate him and take control of their breathing). All medications should have been given to the patient via IV but to my horror the patient was given three rounds via IM which is known to take up to 30 min at times. This P.A. Screwed us royally. Our Flight Surgeon and I get ready for what is about to happen next. Right as we take flight the patient goes down as we gain IV access. This guy starts to loose everything. Soon we are doing compressions again and due to the overload of medications now taking effect we loose our patient. We went over every protocol and s to died. Just not the day I thought I was going to have.
  2. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    A few hours go by and we are finally starting to relax. I get called into our 1SG's office and I am informed that apparently I was having a bad day...lol Seriously though I was, I remember crying in front of him. It was tough, he said the Commander and him had talked and they were giving me the option to end my duty cycle and they would find someone to take over my duty cycle. They weren't upset they saw it being a tough situation for anyone, which I agreed. I would not accept because they needed me on duty and there was no one else to come on duty, that's why I was there. It was pride that kept me there. It was my duty, and I was going to finish it. The rest of the day is pretty much un-eventful. Later that evening though the Battalion Commander comes into the CP as I was entering the other side of the CP which everyone is called to Attention and stand at the position of attention. The 1SG and Commander were right there as well. The Battalion Commander was there to drop off birthday cards for three of us that had birthdays that day and says something about and I hear you have one of your guys on duty too. To which my Commander says "Yes, SGT Montavon here" and points over to me. The LTC then says something like "well I hope your having a great day" which my Commander interrupted him and informed him that I was actually having a horrible day, which I think he then realizes I had taken all the KIA's that day. I just remember the look he hd on his face when it hit him and he then hurries out. It was at that moment I am holding back tears and looking at my Commander and 1SG standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the Battalion Commander as if they were protecting me some how from me breaking down. Anyways that's how it felt to me.

    That day broke me. It ruined what my birthday had ever meant to me and ever would. I am trying to work past that. I am trying to break the chains holding me back. I want to let the pain go and one day be able to celebrate it. With writing this out I am hoping to not get rid of the memories but get rid of the pain associated with it. I hope someone can read this and learn from my mistakes. Don't let this hold you back. Today my son woke me up and for the first time I didn't wake up dreading the day I just woke up and saw him smiling at me. I took him to the living room and could only smile seeing the way he looks at me.
    I am thankful for having such a supportive family and group of friends. My wife has been the rock to keep me grounded and probably the sole reason I am here today. She does more for me then I will ever know. My son, he has given me a new reason for living. He has given me this new motivation to a better man. I hope this is just the start. I love you Bubba!!
    expendable, Tweener, Vombatus and 3 others like this.
  3. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    Powerful stuff. God bless him for his service and please help him recover to be the best Dad possible.
  4. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Harrowing tale. TBF, were you his pilot that day?
  5. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Yeah. We thought it would be cool to be on duty together on our birthday. Terrible decision.
  6. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Such heroic work, though. At every turn.
    The hundreds and thousands of lives you save ...

    Thanks for being there. It must take incredible strength.
  7. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    I got about 2-3 sentences in and really didn't want to read any more. Made myself do it, though. I think we as civilians have done an awful job of understanding the realities of the wars we have been in for the last (holy shit) 15 years.

    Thank you tbf. Godspeed and keep em flying.
    OscarMadison and Vombatus like this.
  8. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Powerful read. I hope both his and your birthdays become much happier in the future.
    Vombatus likes this.
  9. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Damn powerful stuff.
  10. OscarMadison

    OscarMadison Active Member

    Wishing both of you nothing but good birthdays ahead. That's the least of what you deserve.
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