A True Story from January 2014, this is part of a story that took place over the space of a week,during an exercise. So here goes, a diary entry of a very touch and go situation.
“You’re going to want to give up….” he started to say as he looked into her tortured, maddened eyes “.. but don’t!”. She could see the raw emotion in his deep brown eyes and that combined with the pure terror in his voice was heartbreaking as she looked down at his scarred outstretched arms and it was then that she understood what was coming. Despite spending the three previous years subjected to the blood, sweat and pain and the harsh reality of the so called ‘slaughterhouse’ this was a tragedy that no one (not even herself) saw coming. 1200 went in but just how many would survive?
The soon to be sergeant who was unbreakable – broke, the girl who always smiled – cried, the girl who never stopped trying – finally gave up, She dropped the fake smiles, tears tumbled down her face, her rebel facade came crashing down as she whispered “I just can’t do this anymore”. The medic said it was severe, perhaps the worst he’d seen in years, when she realized she may lose her life she just couldn’t stop the tears. When her team returned to visit her she couldn’t bear for them to know, medics told her she’d probably die tonight (just like Marilyn Monroe)
Night and day like fire and ice, a painted face leading a double life.
When an exercise went horribly wrong, the young soon to be sergeant lay on a stretcher in a make shift field hospital, her life hanging in the balance after suffering second and third degree burns to her face, neck and ears, severe heat stroke and blood poisoning from a deep foot wound. Her body becoming more and more weak, ravaged by pain her body began to violently spasm as her eyes rolled back in her head, the world twisted into a chaotic mess before turning to black. It was like her mind was alive but her body had died and she wondered if she would ever wake up.
She woke up in someones arms, panicked and dazed she looked up and met the piercing gaze of a soldier. But there was something really wrong with that seemingly beautiful picture. He was talking to her, but why couldn’t she hear him? It was at that moment that it dawned on her that she couldn’t hear anything. In a haze of hysteria she saw the panic in his eyes, it was then on the hospital floor that he realized the girl he had been singing to was just about as dead and lifeless as she was a few moments ago. He knew her silence was her loudest scream. No one will ever know how much they both cried that night, a young girl lay lifeless in the arms of a combat soldier who she didn’t even know and he sat on the hospital floor in a blood stained uniform cradling her lifeless body. Sadly it wasn’t the first time he had been in this position, but there was something about her that puzzled him that night and it was then that he took it upon himself to protect her at all costs, but would this seemingly innocent task lead the young soldier to a victory of a new kind or will he surrender and become too attached to the dying girl? Could this be his roaring success or the final nail in her coffin?
She ran her cold, blood stained hands through is wavy hair as she stared eerily into his deep piercing eyes, she could see other victims – her fellow team mates and exercise participants laying on stretchers around her. She realized the soldier was singing to her again, it was then that she learned she could lip read, mesmerized by him she could only watch through tear filled eyes. Then the inevitable struck. A sharp pain ravaged her weakened body, her life essence trickled from the open wounds on her face, neck, ears and hands and her body was once again thrown into a violent spasm, her eyes rolled back into her head as blood gushed from the wound on her foot. Her eyes continued to distort the scene around her she looked up at the soldier as panic spread across her face as she whispered only two words “Help me”. He lay her on the floor, her body continuing to spasm. He remained at her side, all he could do was watch in horror as he reached for her hand. Her heart rate slowed and her breathing stopped – within seconds he had started CPR but she still remained unconscious. A medic came running with a defibrillator as he unbuttoned her uniform shirt and attempted to revive her. Had the corporal seen her final battle? Would she survive the forever climbing odds?
A jolt caused her heart to hammer – like it would rip her chest apart at any second, a sharp pain swept through her body – her world was black, she tried to call out, to scream but no sound came out, her body remained lifeless. The flashback of her fellow brother, her mentor telling her not to give up, a phrase she spent many years hearing seemed to twist and bleed into the various parts of her army journey, from injuries to victories, from the smalltown nobody to the battleaxe corporal and from zero to hero, the little corporal known by all has spent her whole life fighting back and defying the odds at every obstacle but was this her final battle? She had never given up, never backed down and never let anything get in her way but was this how it would end for her? A brutal spasming bloodbath?
She regained consciousness, but found herself laying on a stretcher her arms wrapped in bandages from the wrist and several blood soaked bandages clung to her ankle and shin. She was dazed by pain but she could feel water dripping eerily into the palm of her wounded hand. She saw five figures stood around her and she immediately identified them as her Warrant Officer, Staff Sergeant, her closest friend, Section Leader and her Primary Care Medic (her worst enemy). She turned her head and realized that the soldier was sat next to her, still holding her hand and crying. Their hands remained entwined in each others – her cold, dirty, blood stained hand in his deeply scarred one. His uniform was blood stained, as was the medics. There was alot of blood and since there were so many of her closest buddies she understood just how bad this really was.
Just over a year after the accident that changed two young peoples lives forever, the soon to be sergeant recovered from her injuries with minimal long term damage but was declined for enlisting in the Armed Forces, she left the Cadet Force nine months after the accident and went back to school with the aspiration of being an Early Childhood Teacher.
Since then the soldier left the military, he now makes a living selling cars and studying to complete a mechanic degree. He never really recovered after the many deployments he endured and the things he saw and he is undergoing therapy for major depression, severe PTSD and has finally left his life of war behind.
The pair share a special bond, they met in a unique circumstance that opened their eyes to the harshness of the life they once aspired to pursue. They once believed they were destined, living their lives on this planet to carry on a family tradition – but in the end neither one of them could do it. One succumbed to the physical injury and the other to the emotional damage, both were left broken. But now they are living among the civilians in the dangerous world beyond the safety of the barracks nestled safely within the bases compound, beyond the unorthodox, barbaric life of the military. But no matter what they saw, what happened behind closed doors or how far you fall – Both He and I learned we will never ever be out of that fight.