Someone Always Has It Worse: The Convoy to Balad
There is an unwritten rule in the Army: “If you think you have it bad, there is always someone somewhere that has it worse.” Usually, that person in the army has a combat arms background (infantry, armor, Special Forces). Most of these volunteers love what they do and would have it no other way. It was and still is an honor to support them medically, and I have the utmost respect for these front-line fighters; they have earned it a hundred times over in the last 15 years. I certainly don’t mean to belittle them in the text that follows nor do I wish to make light of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq or those that came home with physical or mental wounds they will carry for the remainder of their lives. But I tend to see humor as a great defense or coping mechanism when dealing with stress and in doing so, believe it builds resilience. There is a saying that war is 90 % boredom and 10 % sheer terror. I think those that closely served with me in a Combat Support Hospital during this deployment would agree that our ratio was closer to 70 % boredom, and 30 % humor, even during those brief times of terror secondary to mostly rocket or mortar attacks. Humor helped to cope with the boredom, frustration, and suffering and, in my opinion, was the glue that held us together as a team. This chapter covers the weeks leading up to deployment into Iraq, from Fort Hood, Texas, to Camp Victory in Kuwait, to the 4-day convoy to Balad, Iraq, about 40 miles North of Baghdad.