1. When did you serve as a Navy Corpsman, and what did you do overseas?
I entered the Navy in July 1996 and graduated Corps school in Jan 1997. I then transferred to Field Medical Service School for training. I reported to 6th ESB Co “C” as a HM1 in 2003 as the I&I Corpsman. I was mobilized to deploy with the unit in 2004.
Overseas I was assigned as the LPO of the Battalion Aid Station for CSSB-7, Al Asad, as well as the Engineer companies HM. As the LPO my main responsibility was the everyday operations of the BAS as well as ensuring medical coverage for the resupply and recovery convoys for our AOR.
The main reasonability for our staff of HM’s was to be where we may be needed, and for our battalion that was on the convoys. When manning was available we would provide 2 HM’s and an ambulance for each convoy. For the most part the convoys were uneventful. We would have IED’s at most of the same spots on our convoys so they were expected and for the most part we were lucky that there were not more injuries during the convoys.
The reason that I was invited to Nashville and be a part of CreatiVets was because of a Marine (Jeremy) that was injured on a convoy that I was providing medical coverage for. While we were returning from a resupply convoy to a FOB we were passing a vehicle that was pulled off of the road by our security team at the lead of the convoy. The ambulance that I was in was driving behind an MTVR that had 7 Marines onboard. As the MTVR was passing the vehicle it detonated with the driver inside (SVIED) and engulfed the MTVR in flames. The other HM and I provided initial medical care and MEDIVAC’d the Marines.
Knowing what I knew about CreatiVets and how they help injured tell their stories I wondered how I fitted in to the program since I was not physically injured. Speaking with Richard (CreatiVets Executive Director) and Jeremy (Marine who went through the program), they let me know that they wanted to get an experience from the medical side of story. How the HM’s and medics do what they do and how it affects them and I was honored to be invited.
2. What were your expectations for your trip to Nashville, TN? Did the trip meet your expectations?
Not really knowing what to expect when I arrived in Nashville I was a little apprehensive. I have told people my experiences before but I never went to in depth as to what it was truly like and how it had affected me. The trip was great. Jeremy took me around and showed me the sights of Nashville the day I arrived. We were to meet with Walker McGuire the following day. I would have to say that the trip far exceeded what I expected. Being able to discuss past experiences with those who were there with me was worth it but to add the songwriting experience to it was great.
3. What was the interaction like with Walker McGuire? How did they help put your story into song?
The interaction between Walker McGuire and me was awesome. The session started by Richard and Jeremy explaining what CreatiVets is about and then they turned it over to me to tell my story. I was comfortable telling them what I experienced and the writers were taking notes and strumming on the guitars the whole time. Once I finished talking they had already had some thought on how the song should go and a couple key items that I mentioned that they believed should be in the song. One of the things that I wanted to be incorporated into the song was that I wanted it to be about the whole spectrum of care not just my experience. I wanted to tell the story of how Doc’s treat someone in the field as well as how they are treated during their recovery. I believe that Walker McGuire did a great job at doing this by putting lyrics together that were both personal to me but mixing them with ones that most HM’s would understand.
It amazed me in the amount of time Walker McGuire needed to complete the song. From the start of me telling my story to the finishing of the song took less than an hour and a half. The first time the song was played as a whole was the recording that is on You Tube and it sounded amazing. To experience the writing session and to see how it is put together from start to finish was great. These are definitely some talented individuals and I am thankful to them for spending their time to do this for me and CreatiVets.
4. What did family/friends think of your song?
My friends and family was very impressed with the song. Even though they do not fully understand how it was in Iraq I believe that this gives them a better understanding of what I as well as other HM’s were able to do while deployed. All of my friends that are Corpsman thought the song was great and have shared it with others.
This was a great experience and I believe that Richard and the CreatiVets organization as a whole is doing great things to help veterans cope with experiences that they have had. I would definitely like to thank Richard and Jeremy for inviting me to take part in this and to tell the story.