Archive for Army

E-mail me

Posted in In country with tags , , , , on October 23, 2009 by jetgwot

A lot of you have expressed the interest in high-res photos that you’ve seen on the site. Until I come up with a better solution, go ahead and e-mail me at justin.weaver@afghan.swa.army.mil and list the post title and pictures you would like to have. As soon as I can, I’ll e-mail you the higher quality photos.

As always, feel free to ask the questions I might¬†have forgotten to answer. If you are curious about anything, send those q’s too.

Today the first signs of rain rolled in — clouds. One cloud actually looked a bit threatening for a few minutes before¬†it dissipated. Winter is starting to wave it’s cold hand at us.

Ipod causes plane to crash

Posted in On the road with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2009 by jetgwot

Really? No. But i did get my googly-fingers on and googled it. Found nothing connecting Ipods and plane crashes. Which, if it can’t be found on google, it doesn’t exist or has never happened. True story. I tried telling the stewardess that there was no connection between the playing of my Ipod and the safety of flying the Alitalia aircraft I was on. She, unfortunately, decided me listening to “Sail Away,” by Enya was less important then the aircraft suddenly having a malfunction mid-takeoff.

I have yet to see a menu setting on my Ipod that says, “Push to crash jet.” Anyway, we can only hope that one day we can sit back, relax and enjoy the free-flowing music from our musical devices while jetting off to 30,000 feet. In disgust, I resorted to humming to the extreme distaste of the passengers within a five-foot radius.

So, here I am, sitting in the Rome airport waiting for my flight. I feel like I’ve lived out of terminals the past week or so. So far, this one get’s three espresso shots out of five. Why not five you ask? Let me fill you in real quick on the deductions. First off, nine euro for a day pass of internet freedom. What happened to the wireless hotspots that were free? The good ‘ol days. Second, no power source to plug my depleting MacBook into. I even tried bribing the cafe attendent to run my power cord over the counter to give me some extra juice. No such luck — One hour and four minutes of potential blogging time remains.

Last night I took the family cosmic bowling. I’ll see if I can load the video of my dance-a-holic children later. As I tucked them into bed later that night, thoughts of escaping with them to some random island flitted through my head. Unfortunately, common sense took over and I decided it would be better to press onto Afghanistan.

Face to face with PTSD

Posted in Combat Skills Training with tags , , , , on April 27, 2009 by jetgwot

Today was our fourth and final day of the Combat Life Saver medical course. Yesterday, we had a written test and a hands on testing portion. I passed with flying colors. Red, yellow and blue to be specific. Anyway, today we took everything we’ve learned over the past three days and applied it in a very stressful simulated battle environment. We were divided into groups and then were told that we would be advancing on the battle field.

A sharp siren meant we were under direct fire and we would drop to the ground and return fire. A wailing siren meant a mortar attack and we would once again kiss the ground with our hands over our neck. Until we learn to shoot mortars out of the sky, our best bet is to hope the insurgents aim is really bad.

Once we arrived at the battle field, we encountered five casualties with various wounds — from bullet wounds in the chest, to amputated arms and legs. Keep in mind this was all simulated with moulaged plastic. When under direct enemy fire, the only thing you do for a patient is throw a tourniquet on to control the bleeding and then drag, carry or walk the casualty away from the fire fight. We were group one and just as a head’s up — do not volunteer for group one. You will be made an example of. You will be yelled at, shot at and given obstacles they don’t expect you to overcome. Mainly, they want you to feel the stress of battle and how to remain calm and treat the patients while shooting back at the enemy.

This all leads into my encounter with PTSD. As we were treating patients in the 92F heat, I spotted two of our team get shot by someone else on our team. This person was acting as if he had gone crazy on the battlefield and was treating everyone as the enemy. As I approached, I pulled my M9 and “simulated” shooting him dead. The downside to shooting him dead was that he weighed at least 300 pounds, (The Army has some big boys) but despite his weight, we never leave anyone behind.

We then proceeded to try and drag his dead weight off the battle field. Talk about exhausting. Finally, I grabbed him under his knees and two other guys got his shoulders and we started to walk him off. Well, the pistol of our “dead casualty” fell out of his pocket as we carried him and he started freaking out. This was no longer a simulated freaking out. He was yelling, “Give me my pistol, give me my pistol,” as he struggled to break free from our hold as we carried him out. We kept telling him to play dead and someone else picked up his pistol, but he continued to freak out, yelling, “I’m infantry, give me my pistol, give me my pistol.” Thankfully we had no ammo in the weapons.

As soon as we set him down, he came charging right at me, but two instructors quickly stepped in and he was taken back into the building. From what I understand, he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and for whatever reason, it caused him to freak out. PTSD is triggered from extreme events, such as military combat. It’s only just come out the past couple years as a serious disabling disorder.

Here is a link to an article discussing the need to test military members before they go down range and when they get back for up to two years. Hopefully, this bill will help better address what so many military folks are dealing with. http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_12216918

All in all, the training we received today was excellent. This afternoon we helped triage a building full of bomb victims and then learned how to properly categorize patients according to their injuries. The best part of the day had to be receiving our graduate certificates for the 40-hour CLS course.