Los Angeles – Every veteran of combat in Afghanistan will tell you that the most important person in their unit was the medic if they were soldiers, or the corpsman if they were Marines. their job was to treat the wounded, usually in the middle of a firefight or right after an IED explosion.
FOX 11′s Tony Valdez introduces you to an Army medic who decided he was going to save lives, even if he had to die doing it.
Dave Old“My name is Dave old and I’m originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia.”
Dave was 22 years old and he had 3 goals when he enlisted in the Army… to serve his country, to earn money for college and to learn a skill.
In military terminology his was…
Dave Old“68-Whiskey which is a combat medic, basically. my deployment was in Afghanistan, 2007-2008.”
Dave Old“There were pretty intense firefights pretty much for the entire 15-months we were in contact with the enemy and we lost quite a few casualties, it was a very trying time.”
Dave Old“The first six or seven times I got shot at I was in a hole, scared out of my mind, freaking out, but after that, coping was accepting that I’m probably going to die on one of these patrols so you build a tolerance to these fights, you go numb, if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen and there’s really no way I can stop it.”
Dave Old“As a medic, your whole goal is to save a life, and when you’re not able to do that, it wears down on you, when you do save a life it’s one of the best feelings you can have, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, like, I maintained this guy’s breathing, I gave him an IV and he came back around and started talking to everybody again.”
This was one of the very rare times when Dave was willing to talk about Afghanistan with anyone besides his buddies.
Dave Old“It’s like we made it out, we survived, this is our story, we don’t need to talk about it anymore, it’s in the past, it’s over with, and when we meet each other again, we talk about it and when we part ways we’re not really going to talk about it anymore! It’s kind of hard to explain. I wouldn’t expect anyone to understand in the civilian world what we’d go through every day just to keep our heads straight and get the mission done, you know?”
Dave’s a civilian himself now. the words “strength” and “honor” he had tattooed on his forearms in Afghanistan, are still clearly visible.
Dave Old“I believe [honor] is the best value anybody can have and [strong] is being strong and being able to carry someone.”
Dave says he doesn’t really know why he had the words “strength” and “honor” put on the backside of his forearms, but that’s exactly where the wounded GIs he treated and the ones he couldn’t save, would have been able to read them and maybe be comforted.