LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq
The MPT rotation at Balad Hospital on LSA Anaconda was my first step into a combat zone, and an experience that I’ll never forget. A Special Forces Medic is required to be the Primary Care, Orthopod, Physical Trainer, Trauma Surgeon, Veterinarian and the only source of medical care and/or treatment for a deployed ODA and it’s fighters on most deployments. As such, 18D’s are required to do hospital rotations as often as possible to keep their skills sharp, and the Balad rotation for the medics at 1/10 was the best there was.
In the month that I spent at LSA Anaconda I saw more multi-system trauma than I’ve still seen anywhere else to this day, after several trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and working in one of the largest hospitals in the USA as a civilian. “Love Me When I’m Gone” has a chapter dedicated to Balad, and in it I detail 3 specific experiences I had there which will haunt me for the rest of my life.