Bar Kunar

window in Helmand Province

TRYING TO BLOCK OUT THE SOUND OF MORTARS exploding ever closer, Hilda focused on the bleeding wound in front of her. She held her finger on the femoral artery while the surgeon sewed the severed vessel together then began to clean and close the wound. She shifted to the pressure point just outside the open wound. In another ten minutes, the wounded soldier might stand a chance of keeping his leg and his life.

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Sea story: Second-Class Summer (1967)

1967-pri-flyIn the summer of 1967, I was given my one shot at leadership ashore while at the US Naval Academy. As a Midshipman Second Class, I was a squad leader in a cohort of other 2/c midshipmen (rising college juniors, for those needing a conversion) going through summer training. At the Naval Academy, the summers before our Third Class and First Class years were devoted to afloat training, the 3/c filling enlisted billets on ships and the 1/c trying junior officer roles. Continue reading

Fedhala

“There. Finish up, nurse, thank you.” Her wide, brown eyes did not change expression as she waited for instructions. “Sorry. Et voilà. Je vous laisse finir, madame.”

Bien sûr, docteur. Allez vous reposer.” Sure, doctor. Go get some rest. She reached for the bandage tape, and began cleaning and covering the incision. She was the third nurse to assist him today. An American WAC, a Scottish nurse from the British Army, and this local civilian who volunteered. The patients were just as varied. Continue reading