I can’t make you understand the feeling in my body, the best I could do would be to tell it to you like this.
I tried to hop a gap and gain a better angle on this hole in a compound wall.
It seemed clear, it wasn’t.
First you feel the round hit.
It felt like a sledge hammer hit me in the back, my stomach felt like the worst incontinence imaginable. Then you paradoxically try to resume your task in the fight, until you realize your own bodily dysfunction.
I was flailing and screaming as horribly as you could possibly imagine. I could hear people directing fire when someone saw me on the ground and started screaminlike a banshee for a Corpsmen. I could hear the corpsmen call booming through the school house as I writhed and pulled at the grass crazily.
And then a warm pours over you, seeps through your body armor, pools down at your legs, and you can’t even see it, because the one time you rolled to have a gander is when you blacked out.
Marines and Afghan soldiers are what you wake to. They’re dumping mags, chewing through belts, and covering your bloody mess with their bodies and trying to drag you behind a corner and out of the kill zone. I could tell you what I remember of that moment. Screaming for cease fire and others laying down suppressive for Doc Pasqual (who had been out on the satellite patrol) was my understanding. Doc Duhart was taking a shit or something moments before the ambush and had his kevlar on and his body armor were half strapped and hanging off, he initially covered and helped get me out of the shit spot I was in. People later told me that when Pasqual arrived at the scene, he became machine like. They started tearing and shearing my shit, sweat, dirt and blood drenched cammys off my me. The IV’s and morphine brought me enough ability to cope to come about some what.
Staff Sgt Campbell was laying prone in front of me and screaming his face off at the ANA who were just dumping 240 belts in a general vicinity. He was asking me all kinds of questions to keep from blacking out again. “You got a girlfriend?” “You read for a sweet ride McElhinney, just stay with us!”
Imagine that the terror of your youth, the man who dragged through some of the most dick in dirt field ops that the most elite fighting force in world has to offer and every time you struggle or fuck up he is elated. Now this man is laying down before you. You’re looking up at his dirty ass face you realize that he’s terrified and doing everything in his power to do something of grave value. You see him trying to rip off your cammys, and then you see his gear go from shitty, dirty, digi-marpat, tan to a deep ominous red.
And then you realize that some religious zealot cunt with a fucking a RPK or a Dragunov has put a bullet beneath your back SAPPI plate, through your back, through your pelvis, through your colon, and into the anterior wall of you abdomen. The faces around you read to you as tho the least favored but most probable outcome, is that you, and the body you inhabit, are probably going to die. Time for due diligence on everyone’s part.
Then they rolled my mangled side of beef on to a pole less litter. If it weren’t for the mountain of gauze filling the chasm in my back the rock I rolled on to probably would have caused actually shock instead of a mild black out. I could hear people returning from the satellite patrols as they came in, but what kept me awake was my hands dragging over the rubble of the school. I heard people losing their shit over me, at this point a lot of smashing and running. Com chatter was going ape shit to get my EVAC.
“30 mikes out McElhinney, hold on bud! Birds are in the air.”
I don’t even know who’s talking most of the time, I was losing a lot blood and I had never had morphine, which was kicking me in the balls.
I remember all of first platoon swarming all over the school house, calling out sectors and fortifying what was left of a decrepit attempt at civility.
I remember being on the litter looking forward out of a massive hole blown in the wall. Marines squeezing my hands trying to keep my talking. I kept blacking out only to be awoken by Sgt. Mckinney and Wyzinski trying to break my hands with their grip. Eventually the dope started to round me out a little bit better. I remember for a second that while I was outside some reporter from Stars and Stripes had the whole thing on camera. I rambled a lot, even for me I guess. I remember Lt. Gaughan (The platoon Bostonian) was breaking my balls about going to see “The God forsaken Yankees” or something to that tune. To which I apparently replied “Fuck off you crazy Beantown fuck” everybody laughed, I partially blacked out, Wyzinksi was breaking cartilage at this point.
Sgt. McKinney called me brother. That might sound stupid or maybe a little douchey. But if you knew the hate and discontent this man instilled in 3/6 Lima guns you would know that in that moment, I realized I was a Marine forever. Even if I died a few moments later in the roll of the dice, it didn’t matter, my name was made.
I felt this transition come over me when I saw the smoke signals and the helo team fall out of the sky like a fucking comet. I could see the rage and tears in my brothers eyes as they wrestled for a spot on the litter to hold. I remember the agony of the pole less litter going to and fro from everyones non-synced gaits, and my hands dragging along the last jagged rocks I would ever touch in Afghanistan. They loaded me onto the helo and everyone tried to say their goodbyes. The air crew shoved most of them away but Wysinski got in next to my ear and said “If you go atleast you’ll be with your mom, bud” and then the bird touched off.
I remember saying my stomach hurt alot on the helo ride, every time I would say it to the PJ he would check my vitals and all the crazy shit I was hooked up to. In case you weren’t aware, you can’t hear shit on helo’s. But, I was on the “Hey I’m fucking dying” amount of morphine and persisted to blab. I remember waking up to this dude’s finger on my corroded artery and mid pulse read, grabbing his hand and just squeezing it. I grunted out the ride and eventually we were hitting a tarmac and a team was ripping me onto a gurney and put me in some mil spec ambulance.
I recognized where I was at.
I was on the airstrip next to Camp Bastion, the British/American heinous injury hospital. The reason I know where I am is that a few days prior to punching out into the suck, Berny and I had traveled there to see his mother, Commander Bernard, Chief of Radiology. This meeting however, didn’t consist of a walk, a cup of coffee, and a romp around the base in a bongo bus. But, instead it turned into me flailing and hollering for Commander Bernard. When she came into the triage room the last thing I remember was telling her to “tell Jason I love him like a brother” followed by probably a garbled mess of insanities.
Her voice was like nothing I had ever heard. She was milling about the room explaining to the recently coherent the a horror has become of their life, and yet it was the most angelic thing I had ever heard.
I assumed I had made it to in the halls glory.
By Mick from Reddit