Twice Injured Medic Returns To Duty
November 29, 2007
Many of us know of the bravery and courage of our Troops who are serving in harms way, we make it our business to know about the incredible young men and women. The media won’t tell us about them, but somehow, we always find a way to find out about them and make sure others are aware of the calibre of people our country is blessed to have serving in our military. I’d like to introduce our readers to yet another courageous young Soldier, Army SPC Cassandra L. Miles.
SPC Miles, serving her third combat deployment, recently returned to Afghanistan on November 12th, following treatment in Germany for her second injury from an IED detonation. SPC Miles could have chosen the easy route and returned home after suffering a mild concussion and possible traumatic brain injury in an October 28th IED explosion. Instead of taking the easy way out, SPC Miles volunteered to return to Afghanistan.
Miles serves as a medic attached to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. She was injured when an IED exploded near the door of her Humvee during a patrol in Logar province. Because she felt a duty to the fellow Soldiers in her unit, she asked to be returned to the aid station and medical platoon at FOB Shank to resume her duties, as soon as it was possible to do so.
“A lot of people don’t understand that we’re very shorthanded as it is, and my section is more of a family than anything,” Miles said. “Unless I had to definitely go home and I had no choice, then I was going to go back.”
“I feel like I’m blessed,” Miles said. “I’m alive with my limbs and my legs, and I shouldn’t be because of where the impact was. I shouldn’t even be here, but I’m still capable of doing what I’ve got to do - treat patients.”
Miles is part of a medical platoon that is composed of medics, of which over half are women. The medics patrol on a daily basis with infantry paratroopers. She feels that her platoon leader, 2LT Adam Davies has made the work environment positive, despite the challenging environment.
“He really sticks his neck out there for us and takes care of us,” Miles said. “He fights our battles that we can’t fight without having the rank.”
Miles has been able to prove herself among her male counterparts as well as the infantry paratroopers her unit patrols with. She’s more than willing to do whatever is necessary, to do whatever the guys do.
“You have to do what they do,” said PFC Megan Anstiss, a fellow medic. “When they get out of the truck; you get out of the truck. When something breaks, you help fix it. You’re there when you’re supposed to be. Don’t do the girly stuff. If you act like a Soldier, they’ll treat you like a Soldier.”
The job of an Army medic is a tough one, whether you’re male or female. It’s also very dangerous. When troops are in the middle of battle and someone gets injured, they enter the “killzone” to treat the patient. SPC Miles shared about a tough situation that she encountered.
“It was scary,” Miles said. She was taking care of a patient who was injured by an RPG in the undercarriage of his seat in a Humvee. “When it blew up, he had shrapnel on his lower back all the way down to his upper knees,” she said. “I was trying to take care of him all the way back, but we kept continuously getting hit for about 10 kilometers.”
In the attack, in which Miles was injured, she was going in and out of consciousness. Because of the loss of consciousness, Davies said that Miles was evacuated to Bagram Air Base and then on to Germany to check for possible TBI.
“That’s something that we’re seeing a lot of,” he said. “The Army had just come up with a plan that everybody in the entire Army had to have MTBI and PTSD training, and we gave that training,” Davies said.
According to Davies, during the month that they were conducting the training, about half of the 26 casualties evacuated, had some form of mild TBI. Army medics throughout Afghanistan and Iraq are encountering similar difficulties, and Miles’ attitude is pretty common among them.
“I’m just doing my job,” Miles said. “Unfortunately we dont’ have the number of males needed or required… and I couldn’t leave my guys, so I asked the doctor if I could return back to country.”
While many don’t understand the type of dedication and sense of duty, that would lead someone who’d already been injured twice, to ask to return to the warzone, it’s a frequent occurance… one that occurs more often than not. SPC Miles is yet another of the unspoken Heroes of this war, who’s sense of honor and duty, motivate them to return to the fight and finish the job that they started.