ABOUT THE BOOK
My Journey as a Combat Medic is a no-holds-barred look at the modern medic in the US Army, allowing us a glimpse at the training as a soldier and as a specialist, as well as deployment and front line duties and the impact of service on civilian life, including an honest look at PTSD, from the author’s own personal experience. Rather than a technical manual, My Journey as a Combat Medic is a detailed first hand account, concluding with a letter to new medics, providing a career’s worth of advice and knowledge as they begin their journeys.
Patrick Thibeault has served in the US Army in various capacities since the 1990s, originally training as a Airborne soldier before specialising as a combat medic. My Journey as a Combat Medic covers his original training and deployment before providing a look at the roles he’s since played in the US Army’s forces, including his recent deployment to Afghanistan. It is a no-holds bar look at the modern medic in the US Army, allowing us a glimpse at the training as a soldier and as a specialist, as well as deployment and front line duties and the impact of service on civilian life, including an honest look at PTSD, from the author’s own personal experience.
What led you to join the military?
I grew up as an Army brat. My father was in the Army and it had become a part of my culture. I lived in Europe for 10 years and even graduated from High School from a US. Army base in Seoul, South Korea. I cannot say that it was all I knew, but I knew at an early age that it was something that I wanted to do. We were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and I would watch the paratroopers jumping out of the airplanes. I knew that I had to do that. I wanted adventure and excitement, so becoming a paratrooper and a medic seemed like the right path to follow.
What did you enjoy the most about serving in the military? the least?
I enjoyed helping others as a medic. I served as a medic for over 20 years both in combat and during peacetime. I went to war twice as a combat medic. I love helping people who are sick and injured. I guess you could say that I am an adrenaline junkie and working as a combat medic was my way to get my high. I loved the pressure working as a combat medic and knowing that it was a real situation and it was up to me to make things right.
The thing I disliked most about the military was the mentality of hurry up and wait. We would wake up early in the morning to do something and have to wait on someone else in order to do it. A classic example of this is going to get some supplies, leaving early to get what we needed, only to have to wait because the person issuing the supplies is on break or in a meeting
What places did you get to visit during your service? What did you like/dislike about serving in these areas?
I visited many different countries both in peacetime and during war and also different places in the United States that I otherwise would have never had a chance to go visit.
I joined the Army and went to basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas which is in El Paso, Texas. After basic training I learned how to become a medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which is in San Antonio. When we had the chance, I would visit San Antonio and enjoy what the city had to offer. Other memorable places in the US that I go to spend time in was in Anchorage, Alaska. My unit ( the
160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment) would go to Alaska to train.
I went to war during Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. During Desert Storm, I started in Saudi Arabia, but I did some work in Iraq and spent several months in Kuwait. During my time in Afghanistan, I spent several months at a forward operating base as a medic and would be tasked out to work as a medic with combat forces. Other places in non combat operations include visiting South Korea and going to South America. The place I liked the most was the Forward Operating Base I stayed at in a place called Herat, Afghanistan. We were a small American contingent embedded with the Afghanistan Army. The place I disliked the most was in Kuwait City back in 1991 because we had to breath all the burning oil from when the Iraq forces set the oil wells on fire in Kuwait before they left.
What recommendations would you make to someone considering the military as a career?
Think long and hard before making the military a career. It is not an easy job, but it is a rewarding one. I guess it depends on what a person puts into something, that will determine what they get out of it. The military by nature is very physical. The soldier is expected to do thing that a regular citizen would never dream of doing. I would tell a high school student who wants to join the military to put down those video games and start running. There are many different jobs in the service, but some jobs require a higher level of physical fitness and higher academic requirements. Let me say this about military training schools, they cram in as much information as they can in several months, which is almost equal to earning an associate’s degree in college. It requires both physical and mental stability. Added that the nation is at war means that odds are a person considering joining will go to war.
How did this book come about?
I decided to write My Journey as a Combat Medic because of my unique experiences both during combat operations and during peacetime. I went to war twice, the first time as a young medic and again later as a older seasoned veteran. I wrote the book because not too many good books have been written about what the combat medic does. I share my experiences because they are interesting and unique. I also wrote the book for the sake of history, I felt my experiences as a combat medic should be documented for future generations to read.
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