A Later Intro

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I just realised I didn't introduce myself earlier in the introductions area. I joined when there were like 10 of us on here. But we have grown so I figured an intro is in order.

I was born in the middle east. I grew up there, a weird combination of race (Half Tamil, quarter khmer quarter scottish) a product of my grandmother's immigration to scotland post independance after marrying my grandfather who was then posted in India. Irony of Ironies. Many of you would have seen where I was born. I was born in Baghdad, at the Ibn Sina hospital.

Short things short, my mother married my tamil dad. Relatively conservative as a backlash to the relatively liberal grandmother, because back then there were really no options for someone who was half and half of anything. Parents were both doctors.

I applied to medical school aged 17 and failed to get in. Disappointed I had arguments with my dad. He didn't really see me as anything traditional and a failure and got kicked out. I was rather despondent. I stayed with friends for a bit after my A Levels came out. He suggested I apply for clearance and to write to the army to see what can be done. I didn't get medicine but I got BSc. Human Genetics and the army offered me officer training as a CMT (combat medical technician) since I was interested in field work and medical school. CMT was a logical progressive of my paramedic training and into medical work.

I was posted to lead and coordinate a large unit of CMTs. Around 30 in total to support Iraqi army and american operations initially. You basically got posted somewhere with some unit and you made sure no one ate a camel spider for a bet or died because of diarrhoea or something stupid like that. You also occasionaly got to do real heart warming stuff like mass vaccinations and so on. Oh and occassionally the really hairy stuff like running casualties into helicopters, getting shot at and going along on a raid. Okay the helicopter bit was pretty awesome but that's just adrenaline talking over there.

What was happening more and more was that there was a big gap in operations as to where I was posted. I went into the field in my original role as CMTs when any major raid was going down and teaching at the same time. We were constantly short staffed since we had to support staff at the hospital and do ambulance work all the time. What's worse was my degree came into play.

The main use of human genetics is medical. Failing that forensic. I helped out with MPs and cases there. I got use of a lab and some iraqi science students who wanted to work. My first case was of an alleged rape by american soldiers. They were guilty and what's worse they were trying to cover up (I did the work that jailed Byers). People I worked with didn't see it that way. I had another case of just a pile of human heads and a pile of human bodies, all women. All killed because they were too smart or too pretty or something idiotic. The woman who informed us of the bodies was in the pile too. The soldiers who got their first threw up. There were 12 bodies and 12 heads just thrown into a bunch of pits. The only reason we found it was that they left the last one out and I think they left it out to make a point that we were powerless to stop them. I know you are not supposed to draw conclusions but I tested the informant woman as part of the procedure and she matched one of the other bodies by 50%. It was her daughter. I think that night for the first time I thought I was going to die there.

People don't understand why a lot of honour killings or revenge killings end in decapitation. I do. Muslims must be buried whole to go to heaven. Its to punish these women forever. I stopped having fun after this. It was 2 months into my posting.

I did things I am not proud of. In a car accident trying to get away from an attack an entire family died bar their son whose leg was trapped in the wreckage. We had no morphine and he was bleeding internally. So I amputated his leg in the field without any anaesthesia. He survived but I still sometimes have flashbacks to that.

I think I got PTSD while I was in Iraq. I became a fatalist. I knew I was going to die there. It was just a feeling. The end came on a routine check up with some families for a health study. It was me, another CMT, 2 iraqi medics and 2 iraqi soldiers with a couple of american marines who tagged along. We had done that route many times. It was a friendly area. You give the kids some chocolate and ask about health issues. You laugh and say goodbye. You spread a lot of good medicine that way . We were trying to increase the uptake of polio vaccines and ORS for cholera and typhoid.

And then it goes horribly wrong. I hear a whine and this kid just falls over in the street just 10 metres away from us then the gunshot. Everyone starts yelling to get down as more shots start falling. The iraqi kids have no idea where to run and everyone's running in front of our guns. We didn't see where the first shot came from and start radioing in for support. Its then all hell breaks lose. These kids just burst out of nearby houses from nearly every side. They cannot be more than 16 and start firing on us. The iraqi soldiers get caught out since they were in the middle of the street and just die standing from both the sniper and his ground support. We respond back. And this is where my memory gets hazy. I don't remember anything solidly. Just snatches of what happened.

There are images of me shooting kids. There is an image of me stabbing someone and being stabbed. I remember a thunderclap of noise while running and then falling over, trying to get up and failing, then looking down to see that my leg's nearly been blown off at the tibia. I remember people shouting at me. But I don't remember what happened.

The other CMT doesn't speak anymore. He was worse than I was.

In the end I had a bunch of scars down my right arm. 4 surgeries to save my leg. At some point I was hit in the chest and broke a couple of ribs. I had a knife injury to my arm. No one remembers exactly what happened. I was comatose for a week. When I came to I couldn't see. Concussive glaucoma.

I think I killed someone. Not with gun but in cold blood. I still have the occassional vivid dream where I am fighting against someone with a knife and it always ends with him dying and I do have a knife scar. The dreams and fears were the worst. I had dreams of having to match my friends heads to their bodies. I had dreams of losing my leg both to the blast and to it being amputated. I am scared of any explosion. Specifically fireworks and balloons. I once hid from a kid with a balloon who thought I was joking so he chased me down a street until I broke down crying. His mum thought I was weird, hit me then dragged her kid away.

I still have them but its less now. My main issue is my relationship troubles, I have issues in that which are a lot harder to solve. The structure of my life has helped keep me working towards improvement. And I am lucky to have someone who is willing to be something I aspire towards and give me hope that I can have a normal life later if I struggle now.



I enjoyed reading your intro. I have nightmares of similar situations and sometimes occurring day thoughts. I'd also say that I have relationship issues and have been lucky enough to find a woman who knows how to put up with me. She understand to back off when needed and to come near when necessary. Great to know you. HOOAH!
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