It was bugging me, not knowing who it was on our bird that day, so I did a little bit of research and found the site the family put up.“Now what?” I asked after reading the messages left by friends and family that had lost someone special. What do you say? Not a question of “Should I?” but “What?” After about three hours of deliberation punctuated by yet another mission, I came up with this:
To the Millard family: I came across your site looking for the name of the soldier we moved that day. Looking for closure, I suppose. We picked up CPL Millard and flew him to Balad doing CPR the whole time – we started even before the helicopter left the ground. We had one of our best Medics on the aircraft… we flew at the limits of the engines to get him to the CSH… we tried our best to not let it be his time. Some things you cannot change, though, no matter how much you try to. I cannot find the words to express my regret for your loss. It is our loss, too. I..’d like to hope that no one else would ever experience this, but as the days go on over here, both sides lose people that mean something to someone. I just hope that one day soon it will pass. Until then, we still go out to bring them back. My sympathies.
It took me a day to realize that the reply would be at the bottom of the page. Funny how that works.
As a Vietnam Era Non-Combat Army Veteran, I want to thank you on behalf of all of Corporal Gregory N. Millard..’s immediate and extended family members, My brother Kevin (Gregories Dad), Sister In Law Jill (Gregories Mother), Nephew Jason (Gregories Brother) and Lacey Martin (Gregories Fiance..’) especially extend their hearts and hospitality should you ever be in San Diego. The Soldier you and your fellow medical and support staff fought to save so bravely, grew up touching many people. His humor and love of life were boundless, just as his lovefor his country and his second family, the men of the 2nd of the 505th 82nd Airborne Division. All of you are Heroes in so many ways. Thank you for fighting under the worst of conditions to save this families hero, he would have fought equally as hard for any one of you. What matters most is you got him out of there and home to all of us. He now rests (Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA) in peace, surrounded by all that was important to him and where we can visit him at will. For this reason we are most indebted for the part you played in attempting to save our Gregory and allowing closure for our family over our loss of ..”Shortie..” Corporal Gregory N. Millard. Please drop my brothers family a line it would mean a great deal and again with all my heart I thank you for doing all within your power to attempt to save my Nephew Gregory. May God Continue to Look over You and Yours and this Great Land of Ours. God Bless America and the Soldiers that defend it. Uncle Butchie and the Millard Families and Extended Family Members. We will never forget our …”All American Hero…”
Yeah, I do feel a bit better because of the reply, but that is tempered by losing another patient two days ago. Iraqi Army. IED. A whole lotta stuff wrong with this guy, but you’d never know it looking at him when we picked him up. Not a lot of obvious injuries, but that just indicates the worse. Coughing… labored coughing. Stomach didn’t look right. CPR started halfway through the 40 minute flight and continued until I lost sight on him at the hospital – the medic immediately straddling the patient’s chest in full flight gear doing compressions while they wheeled him away.
Clean up and go out for more. Sounds pretty sadistic, but not all are destined to go wrong. Today (so far) was a IP with at shattered tibula, then later, a 14 year-old civilian girl with shrapnel to the eyes (found out she lost two uncles in the IED blast). Both in pretty good shape, and both look like they will be back up and yammering away about the flight for a good time to come. Sometimes the flights are for… odd reasons. Contractor swallows dentures. Female soldier slips in the shower. TB. Severe pinkeye. Multiple scorpion stings to the genitalia on some guy. I think the last one was made up… the mission was canceled, so we never really got to find out.
Been reading a lot lately – this is one of the reasons the blogs have been lacking. The book I’m on currently is “Last Man Down” – about a firefighter that survived the WTC collapse. Someone told me that the movie “WTC” was based on the book, but whatever. I actually had to stop reading at one point last night because I noticed something disturbing: there’s too much depressing shit in my life already to read about that day. So I put it down, also realizing that I read way too fast and way too long – it was late. Whatever it takes to distract the mind, though, right?