20 | Buzard
All I'm doing is running from body to body doing what I can. I do have the sense to roll the obviously dead over on their belly. So that I know not to go back to them fetters often talk about missing the war in bewildered terms in terms, they know civilians can't really grasp in terms, they barely grasped themselves. It's about more than just the adrenaline rush. Or the danger though that is a significant part of it. It's a rare opportunity to be used full to literally save lives to be found to people. Otherwise would be strangers by the very responsibility of keeping one another safe. Daniel dockyard had been working paramedic long before he deployed in his late twenties, but his first taste of combat medicine opened his eyes to the possibilities. And meaning that providing aid has a war zone. Meanwhile, you know, I look up in the. Three where the kids are selling ice intestines hanging from the trees. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed for wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo and vis. Is war? There are job sites out there that will send you tons of the wrong resumes to sort through. That's not smart. But you know, what is smart going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash? This is war to hire. The right person. Ziprecruiter doesn't depend upon candidates finding you it finds them for you. It's powerful matching. Technology scans thousands of resumes identifies people with the right skills education and experience for your job. And actively invites them to apply. So you get qualified candidates fast. That's why ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash this war. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Sometimes a calling is in clear, even after you think you've heard it from the outside. It looked as if downhill bazaars calling was just to do something else. Something better than whatever. He already was doing. He joined the national guard right out of high school rose through the ranks of bit went to airborne school. And then just dropped out. It was a different guard back in the nineteen nineties one that maybe didn't have the level of professionalism. It would be forced to develop over the next decade bizarre to joined with the hope of becoming a ranger. But as it turned out the expense of the school wasn't something. The national guard was willing to cover by nineteen ninety four bizarre dropped out of the guard and returned to Alaska to go to college for fire science from there. He balanced around a little bit before ending up in paramedic school in Jefferson City, Missouri. I was coming off of work on an ambulance in Missouri that morning and my relief that day was my. Surely my paramedic instructor. She was cool because we did shift change like six AM, and I'd been out all night running calls, and she was the one that would just take over the shift, but let me sleep. So I wake up around seven thirty eight o'clock in the morning. I walk out that's her and her partner and just ahead guys. What's up and her partner looks at me do shut the fuck up any points at the TV and the first towers on fire, and I look in the second plane hits part of him wanted to drop everything and just go there as much for the potential adventure as for the opportunity for retaliation. But the reality was he was already approaching thirty. He had a wife and a job and wasn't even sure if he was still welcome in the army after dropping out of the national guard, but by two thousand and three bazaar found himself living in New Mexico and fighting a restlessness and slogging through a failing marriage all of a sudden twenty nine didn't seem too old to be joining the army, plus. As a paramedic. He figured he already was as well trained as he needed to be to work as a medic in the infantry. He could a deal that would let him reenlist without penalty and prepare to deploy to Iraq. I started asking around in the guard units and stuff is anybody slated to go. And they said, yeah, we're standing up this MP company, and we need medics in average army line medic is an EMT basic, whereas paramedics have a lot more anatomy and physiology. And I had a few years worth of experience in some big cities adrenaline calls. I had years of experience from Alaska and stuff culminating all up into this. I'm already significantly older than most of the people in the unit. There were very few maybe ten out of one hundred eighty people that had any frame of reference for combat experience. I didn't have the combat experience. I had the medical, but it was completely different. Currant treatment type, you know, if I go to a multi car crash, I got my radio, and I call for more help and more ambulances show up with more people and more resources, and it's very easy. But then I'm in a war zone. And it's me and me alone. And I've got a care for all of these guys and more often than not as luck would have it turned out that I ended up working on the local significantly more than I worked on our own guys. It would be another eighteen months before he was on his way to Iraq though, in the meanwhile, it was training on weekends and getting things in order for his deployment. He still was running calls in Los Alamos, fighting the occasional house fire and responding to accidents and other emergencies truth be told bizarre liked the assignments the thrill of running a call of coordinating care at a multi car pile up. He had a taste for that adrenaline rush that he really thought would serve him well in combat by the time, he boarded a flight to Kuwait. On March fifth two thousand five annual bizarre was ready to test his metal. But the first death. He had a deal with actually happened. Stateside, I'm sitting on the tarmac. I've got my phone. We're just waiting for the word load on the plane, and I'm calling everybody in my phone, and I'm talking to everybody because I don't know what I'm walking into. I'm not come back. I'm watching the news. I know what's going on. And there's a fair chance that I'm going to die, and I get to my brother Montes name and skipped over him. Because I said man, if I call him he's going to want to talk to me for like, thirty minutes. I'm trying to give everybody two minutes, and I didn't call him well somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I presume while I was flying over there. My brother shot himself that night by the time word reached him who's art and the rest of the MP unit already were on their first mission, delivering home vs from the base in Kuwait to another one where they could be up armored czar had grown up and what we? We've come to call a blended family of his father's eight children. Monty was the one he and most grown up with. He had to say goodbye to his brother and then to his family for a second time before making his way to Baghdad and catching up with the MP's. He got to the beast just as the left seat right seat. Training was coming to an end. I remember the first patrol that. I went on we were running our show, and they're telling us, you know, how to do it. And I remember I showed up for patrol. I'm going to be the only doc going out and a show, but my pants unbalanced. And basically, okay, I'm not in a garrison environment can relax a little bit. And this West Point ring tapping Lieutenant starts tearing my ass up. Oh, you just throw all the standards out the window just because you're in combat at setup and immediately have a disdain for the active duty granted their opinion of the national guard was earned by the national guard. For having subpar performances now that changed drastically over the next eight years, remember, especially during the earliest years of the war in Iraq, many of the national guard members were not only not prepared to be sent to war. But also were in training at the levels that everday soldiers were once it was clear that the war in Iraq was going to be this long. Drawn out affair the national guard started being used as stopgap measure by two thousand five the army also had lowered its enlistment standards to meet the demands of the war as relieving forces taking the place of regular army, many of whom already had had a few combat tours and all of home are on the verge of finishing one. There was suspicious that the guard wouldn't be able to cut it and that any gains the army might have had might not be sustained. But it would only take a few weeks before the national guard MP's got to show that they were both ready and able to take care of themselves as well as the people that they were there to support we were. At an Iraqi police station. It must've been somewhere around may think of five. So I got a couple of months in. I'm starting to get my feet underneath me. I haven't really treated much and we hear an explosion. And it's close. So we hop in our trucks, and we drive onto this underpass. I'm in. I'm always in the middle truck. As the lead truck comes out. He slams on the brakes we have to take action to not run into the truck in front of us and go around as we edged up the hill. All I see across four lanes of traffic with it. Big median our bodies strung all across the street, and I was like holy shit. Where do I start my civilian side says call in the cavalry, call every available medic truck? But that isn't an option. It's me. And i'm. And I have just a sea of dead and dismembered people laying across many lanes of traffic in two thousand and five the plan for rebuilding. Iraq seems simple enough recruit and train in army and police force that could help stabilize the country, and then protected on its own the difficulty was though that in two thousand four the war had changed I with the capture of Saddam Hussein and most of his upper echelon there was something of a power vacuum bringing fighters from neighboring countries and inspiring insurgents already in Iraq second as the American coalition presence began to look more like an occupying force in less like a liberating one Iraqis who had been pro American, or at least not anti American began to falter as he looked out over the sea of bodies of the dead dying and injured a detail caught his eye and in a flash bizarre had a sense of the scene. There was a great. A big group of men trying to join the Iraqi army because nobody had jobs 'cause we had turned their entire country upside down that was the only job and all these men are lining up in not lining up because they refuse to stand in the line. They just conglomerate around trying to get in to where they're taking outlook. It's and baking in the sun around noon. One o'clock a group of them decide that well, we're not going to stand in this group. There's some kid selling ice cream across the street, which was right near a playground. The carnage at the playground was at the outer edge of the kills zone and its implications. Weren't lost on booze art as he turned to the rest of the casualties. Lots of times we picture. Mass casualty cinematic -ly using our closest touch tone to try and get a sense of what was going on. It was what bazaar done before encountering his first. But as he says, even the grittiest war films with the most accurate portrayals. Don't get at the scene the heat and the smells and the SC. Screaming and the utter chaos of an uncoordinated response to a surprise attack. I start putting turn gets on where I can. I'm doing what I can for who. I can main while the Iraqi police are there with a bunch of trucks, and they are quite literally grabbing anybody that's alive and loading in in the back of the truck like cordwood and turn off to the closest hospital. All I'm doing is running from body to body doing what I can. I do have the sense to roll the obviously dead over on their belly. So that I know not to go back to them. And these guys are pulling security a couple of them jumped in because they were all combat lifesaver trained, and they were doing what they could just put some turn it gets on and try to get him out. And then somebody from that playground start shooting at us, the impugn it had just three trucks with staffing appropriate for the kind of training and support they'd been doing. There are no extra dismounts just guys to run the Trump provides. Oppressive fire and to deal with crowd control with the soldiers out trying to help the Iraqi wounded it took longer to dispatch the attack than they would have preferred. Moreover, even though the shooting itself wasn't deadly the soldiers drove off the attack in short order, it hampered the triage and evacuation effort, and it was a very much. So kind of a blur. I don't know how much time lapsed. I don't know how long it all too. But when it was all done and all the bodies have been picked up and all of the extra parts that were unassociated with a particular person were collected. I'm bloody all the way up to my elbows all the way down the front of my pants. I'm just I'm covered in blood. There's a walks up with his bag of hand sanitizer and leader bottle of water and starts pouring it into my hands. And basically I'd take a roadside math trying just get all of the caked on blood off of me. And I reach in my pocket and grab mechanic open. Hagan put a dip in my. Mouth and have a big drink water probably the whole leader. And then as Lagos EM. So battalion wants an estimate of how many people you treated. And I'm like, the fuck am I supposed to know? And then I had a great idea. Everybody were sandals and many of them were blow out of their sandals. So I could basically count up all the sandals that I can find on the ground, and, you know, divide by two in that might give me a guess. Meanwhile, you know, I look up in the tree or the kids are selling ice cream intestines hanging from the trees, and there was two pair of very small sandals. I don't know where there's kids went. But you know, I don't know twenty seven to thirty five I really don't know. And that was my first introduction into the war and really earning the title as doc. This was the first in what would total more than five attacks in Iraq that day may eleven at least thirty people at the police station were killed in another thirty five wounded in a day would see more than. Sixty overall deaths and more than one hundred fifty casualties at the height of a week of insurgent violence all around the country standing there amid the blood soaked streets as the MP's re collected themselves and continued their day. Doc Bouchard knew something significant had happened. But he didn't really get the full import mostly because of the massive loss of life. But also because of the context setting aside the horror of violent death, and the temperature and the, smells and all of those things that make the aftermath of an event like this soul crushing dockyard had a little inside that would develop into passion in the ensuing decade. He felt most alive treating people in desperate circumstances. 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By the time. He was deployed to have kenniston Bussard had been ready to go for some time after coming back from his deployment to Iraq. Everything about his job. As a fireman and paramedic just kind of him house fires which used to get his adrenaline pumping bordered on tedious. He spent all of his spare time and not an insignificant amount of money taking up first motorcycling, and then skydiving skydiving quickly became a passion. It was quiet and it felt dangerous all at the same time. It was exciting. It allowed him to get that rush that he missed from combat until he could go back again. And he tried to go back whenever the opportunity presented itself. When we rolled out the wire, it was like a weight was lifted off of me, and I was back in my environment. That I knew that I was comfortable in. It was kind of twisted comfort that now I'm back on high. Caller. I'm back in my environment. I'm back in my element. All right. Let's do this adrenaline junkie isn't quite the way to put it. It wasn't the danger of combat necessarily. Although that certainly was a factor in stand. It was the effect. He could have as just one person he could save people's lives who otherwise might have died. He could look back and say that he had a particular accomplishment, and rightfully be proud of it. The trouble is though taking that kind of pride in your work. Also means suffering the consequences when things go the other way, we're just getting up to speed, you know, convoy speed as we're leaving the wire, we're not two miles away from the entrance to the gate and the flash boom happens. I'm on the right hand side of the truck. Avi bid has driven out and driven underneath the second truck engineers, truck and detonated pick that truck up. Ten feet in the air, and it pushed it over like fifteen feet. And it's immediate, you know, panic and confusion, everybody's stepping on each other. Everybody's trying on the radio. Everybody's trying to figure out what's going on. I'm just waiting for grids to say, let's go the lead truck, they think that an ID has just gone off near the convoy. So they're trying to get out of the kill box. And they step on it and leave. I dunno is just a well-timed breach of protocol. But I keep up at the precise moment where there's finally a break in the radio. And I all I say four to seven is hit its mobility killed about that time grids says dot grab your shit. Let's go, and I run to all the cord length that I had and then I get pulled backwards by my head 'cause I've got a headset on and I'm like oh shit vehicles on fire that field tanks ruptured and nobody's getting out of the vehicle, and I'm kind of focused on getting to these injured guys in this truck. 'cause this is bad. I've got enough experience. This is going to be bad as cribs and Bussard moved toward the truck. They can see that it's on its side a crowded started to gather, and there's still no movement from inside the truck which was carrying the commander sergeant cribs takes charge of security gathering up guys to do crowd control and directing the remaining trucks into a defensive mode. Booze turns toward the kill them ramp and starts to get to work demand is concussed but can find his feet and helps establish a perimeter as bizarre turns his attention to getting into the truck. I try to go in the gunner's hatch hole and my kit was too big around for me to get in the hole. So I start my kid off. I handed my rifle to my interpreter. Joan try to go on the whole I can't get in far enough to be able to find out what's going on. And then I kind of have thought unless the whole whole is rack the doors on open and the back. Well, I go to the back and the guy that was getting switched out all of his gear. In the back of that truck. And I'm basically crawling over all of his gear now mind, you the truck is on fire all of this elapsed in about under a minute. I've got somebody in the front of the truck screaming, bloody murder, losing his mind. I've got to get up there. Well, I know somebody's alive. The man who is screaming was the driver. He'd climbed up and was sitting on top of the door of the overturned truck. Looking down at his friend and colleague, Alex, French French was lying motionless with his head wedge between the door and the bulkhead. The driver had checked out the T C, Alex French his helmet was stuck between the bulkhead and the driver's seat as I'm getting close. I noticed that his m nine pistol is bent in the holster and his rifle had been positioned on the outside of his body in between him and the door and his rifle was bent from the bear from the tip of the bear. To the bottom of the stock. The whole thing was bent like a bow. And his pistol was as well, which told me that this guy has absorbed eighty lot of kinetic energy. He's tore up on the inside pretty bad is is glassy Agdal restorations. This is not going to go. Well, but I'm going to give him one hundred ten percent. We get his head freed up, and basically we just kinda slit her straight out on on top of the gear onto a spine board. All I've got with me at this point is my point of injury kit. So I get my simple airway, and I go to stick it down his throat. So that I can start breathing for him. And so I I try the king LT can't make it work tried to straighten it out try again can't make it work. Just choked it over my shoulder moved to plan b all I have is a scalpel and a tube to stick a hole in his neck. So I bust that little kid out. And I go to cut a hole in his neck. I can't I've never used this style. Scou-? Apple before that's got a guard on it that I couldn't figure out. So I go back focusing my efforts on figuring out how to work this guard. So I figured out and their team medic hopped in with the q r f because it's their this guy's friends. Helicopters inbound, I've done, I started Ivy. This other medic shows what can I do? And I'm like man, the airway, you know, I've got that secured. Let me finish my assessments and she were at and stuff in the helicopter lands, and we're getting loaded up on on a letter to transport him. I give them a quick little report. And I knew when we were getting ready to move him that his chances of survival were very very low. It's a long ride back to the base after a serious casualty even when you only have to travel to miles longer still is the time between when you hang up your gear for the day and the next mission. On mission. There's really nothing to consider you do your job. You be there for your guys stay vigilant and stay safe in the quiet of the aftermath though. Keeping your mind clear is a much less simple prospect, we kind of role in the role in the gate and everybody's looking at us because we're the guys that were just outside the wire they got hit with beaded drop home kit wash myself off and dribs the team sergeant ses get some food whatever just take the after noon, do whatever you want. I said I'm gonna go to the gym for a little while I'm gonna go try to work this out in my head. And he was like, all right, whatever. And I don't know an hour later. He comes and finds me at the gym. And I'm just trying to pound out my emotions grip stops me any said certain French died as a result of his injuries. And I kind of. Choke it down. I didn't know this guy. Well. I'm just really just met images part of our brigade we were doing a joint mission, and I gave it one hundred ten percent. But I don't think that. Even if the guy were to be hit like that. And immediately magically put into a surgical suite that he would have been able to survive that kinda hit. I mean, it was a Toyota Camry station wagon with about eight hundred pounds of explosives in picked up thirty five thousand pound truck and put it ten feet in the air and blew it over fifteen feet, you know, bent, his rifle and his pistol. That's a pretty big hit. But we take it personally. Even though we training. The can all be saved. And that's probably the hardest pill to swallow for the job. Proudly speaking with the exception of mortar attacks barracks tended to be markedly safer them being out on patrol. But in Afghanistan where green on blue attacks started getting a little bit more prevalent. There always was some tension on mixed bases. The soldiers did their best to shake it off. After all it just is impossible to stay vigilant. All the time I was on the phone with my if you will my surrogate mom and neighbor from New Mexico, whoever allowed this is I don't know what a couple of Afghan leadership and their soldiers would would go in and talk to major or whoever. So seeing an Afghan go into our who were the bulk of our guys were wasn't really out of the norm. There's no moon the generators off, and I'm standing outside talking on the satellite phone. I hear our feral dogs that we'd adopt. Did all the dogs were barking, which these dogs didn't bark, and they were attacking this Afghan which really didn't even raise a flag because the Afghans rollers throwing rocks at the dog. So it had been raining. It was muddy out and he's got all of his kid on. I'm fifty yards seventy five yards away from him. And I'm watching him. And I'm watching all of my dogs are all of our dogs attacking this guy. And I'm like kind of chuckling I was talking and. The rapid fire thoughts were holy shit. A mortar just landed where that guy was standing. And then the rational thought was wait. They have a hard enough time just hitting the cop in the first place. What else could cause that that mother fucker blew himself up? I run to my tent throw my Satphone on the bed grabbed my aid bag and I proceed down the west side of the building. And there's like this dusty haze all down the hallway, everybody's yelling and freaking out. If there's an upside to an attack like this. Instead there are medical facilities right nearby. Seeing that the evacuation from the scene already had begun Bussard grabbed up two of the walking wounded and limp them down to the first aid station where he began doing triage, remember, though, this is a fob not a proper base helicopters were already inbound to take the seriously wounded on for critical care. I'm giving everybody, you know, quick little once over triage and. Setting them down on a bench deal with you in a minute minute or two laters. I'm weeding my way through they bring in the headquarters. Platoon sergeant Gary wear on the litter unconscious unresponsive on his back. His right is hanging out of his head. And his jaws is locked shut. It's called treasonous. Usually, it's an indicator of a brain stem injury or a brain injury. He doesn't have any limbs missing. I'm starting. I'm doing an assessment. I'm running through this just at light speed. And. So I gotta control this guy's airway. He's not leaking. He's not bleeding to death. But I gotta get his airway under control really quick and with his jaw locked shut. So to speak. I got two choices cut a hole in his neck, which I had just done two or three months earlier on a different cigarette. And I got the Ivy going I got this other firemen bagging breathing for him. And I've got the correct doses. Drawn up. I've got syringes in both hands is I'm taking steps across to the litter to grab the IV port. Gary sits up with his right eye hanging out of his head. I mean, he's gone from completely unconscious to sitting straight up confused, and he kind of looks around with his good eye and his right is dangling, and he kind of looks around. And he goes that mother fucker blew me up thirsty, and he's got all sorts of little. Eighty bitty holes all down his torso in the front of him. And I think I remember like piece of his calf was missing he has taken the brunt of this explosion where had seen the bomber coming and was suspicious as he opened the door to check on the would be assassin. The bomber had to make way for it and detonated focusing the blast at the wall instead of down the hallway had the bomber made it into the barracks. There would have been a lot more damage than there was instead some guys got sent home with injuries, but they did get sent home even sergeant wear Bussard used a sharpie marker and he wrote right on the patient. What was done and what's still needed to be done before loading him up and send him off on a helicopter later. He would discover that the surgeon use those notes to save whereas life and even was able to save his I. I don't like to know the details of my critical patients after the fact, I have a hard time processing those things. I know that I did everything that I could I've never reserved any effort in keeping an American soldier alive ever. And I'm proud of that. But I do carry with me the ones that I gave one hundred ten percent to that. No matter what in my conscious brain. I know that might not they would not have survived despite my hundred and ten percent. But as my team sergeants aren't ribbons what said said after Alex French got killed in. I know you're gonna take this personally. And you can't but certain French died as a result of his injuries. Well sergeant wear didn't. This is war is sponsored by ADT can design and stall smart home. 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Just for you that AT dot com slash podcast. Because most of us will never be a primitive place with only primitive care. It's really hard to get a sense of just what a combat medic does and sees day-to-day flesh wounds, sprained ankles and all kinds of minor injuries piled in right, along with traumatic ones can alter your perception, not that it reduces your sponsor or your level of care quite the opposite. But it can new personal response. Until after the fact by the time he was done with his third combat tour boozer was angling for a spot as a flight medic, mostly because of his battlefield experiences. But also because of his mass casualty skills he relished the chaotic assignment of being able to fly into a combat zone. Pick up the seriously wounded and keep them alive between the battlefield and the operating table. It was something he felt was right up his alley. But now I'm in a position that is very much. Exactly what I wanted. I have now been given the opportunity. To do the most good for the most people in the best position. I think for me because that's all I ever wanted to do was help people out that were sick and injured get them back to their families. They were outbound to pick up some guys who are concussed after an M wrap explosion. When Mae got redirected one of the guys cleaning up the scene of the explosion had stepped on an IUD. He was critical. There's no moon the gun gunship escort was firing infrared rockets they fire rocket and from a distance, and it would burst over our heads. And it would burn in read some things that we could see because we had night vision on and I remember landing in this dry riverbed and seeing an off to the side, and I exit left side of the aircraft. And I'm walking out of the rotor disk, and I'm waving 'cause I'm told that this guy's a triple T. I'm waving the the litter crew in under the the rotor disk, and they. Slide him in on the deck of the aircraft. I remember the canister sixty four's just fired had burned out right as they were approaching the rotor disk, so it's like turning off a flood light. And then the next canister opens up in the blink of delay. Is this guy goes by me, the new canister opens up and I get a good look at him. And he's fucked up bad. He's missing both of his hands. His right arm. His radius one of the bones is exposed there's no muscle. It's bert. It looks like a bone claw from the wolverine movies. His owner is shorten back near is elbow. He's got nothing there. His left. Arm is missing below the elbow. His left leg is just riddled with shrapnel ground medic got all the tournaments on did a great job of controlling the bleeding. And we got there quick. And we don't have a long flight. I really. Spent most of the flight getting my ass kicked by him. My crew chief Terry Mills was trying to breathe for him. We find out much much later while he all he's got are just basically exposed bones for four arms, and he's stabbing me with his broken Ono radius. That's Burt in the body armor in near my kidney stabbing me with it. Know that he's not lucid he can't find out much much later after the fact after he's gotten back to the states and recovery he wanted to wipe his the blood off of his face, but he didn't have any hands, and I can still feel him jabbing me in my body armor underneath my flight gear in my right kidney with his right radius. But he lived he lost his left leg, which I had a feeling he was going to both of his arms, and I think in two thousand twelve I I was told this didn't verify that. I was the only flight medic to successfully keep alive tripoint PT. But I can't take all of the credit for it. Because it was the ground medic that got the turn it gets on him. I without that we would have had nothing and he's alive and back in the states. And that's another one of those that. I mean, I'd like to wish him well and. But I can't ever see that guy again because I'm not going to see him as he stands today. I'm going to see him and feel and know what went on in the back of our aircraft and carry enough of those images around long enough, and it wears. You do your job and you put it away. Sometimes you do it for a decade sometimes longer for doctors yard four combat towards had begun to take their toll shoulder injury from earlier on in his career would prevent him from reopeing flight medic rather than go back to garrison worker training. He led his contract expire made his way back into civilian life. Teaching skydiving was art can be prickly. He's the kind of guy who is unapologetically aware that people aren't ambivalent about him. But his friends are friends, and they stay that way for a reason. So it wasn't just a matter of chance that in dealing with the disconnect between critical life and death work and day-to-day civilian life Bussard found the right combination of support as he turned his head toward the future. He had and still has a network of support people. He served with friends in the skydiving community, his wife, Diane and more recently. But also crucially his friend, Odin, Odin, just new. He knew what his purpose was he didn't have to guess he was he was put on this earth to be my dog. And. More than one occasion. I might have consumed too much alcohol gotten upset about the things that we're talking about. And had those thoughts to put a gun in my mouth new and Odin completely unprompted would get up in my lap and just lick the tears off my face. And we've just got that connection. He's mine, and I'm his and. You know, it's not really a joke. Wood working dog has signed on his vest. Whatever says do not separate from handler. You can't separate him. From me. I am his I'm his responsibility. And he takes his job very seriously. The thrill of the fight might have brought doc who's our to the army, but his unconditional will to help to provide what aid or at least to bring what comfort he could developed pace with any desire to be in the fix things. And when you think about it. They're kind of the scene to fight death at the margins with only the smallest satisfaction from success and tons of regret from failure knowing that the winning is in the doing and having given your all sometimes enough to get you by. Next time on this is the rocket propelled grenade hit this tree sensually exploded. And I was in the fireball. I remember just there's this white flash. In this incredible heat. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with the story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates andbranch service, as well as a brief description of the experience that you would like to share if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.