My Journey as a Combat Medic is the story of one man's life in the modern US Army. From training with the Airborne to tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and subsequent battles with PTSD, Patrick's memoir highlights the human experience of saving lives in the midst of battle. Here a just a few snippets from the eBook, which is available to download tomorrow.

Chapter 1: Airborne, All the Way

The jumpmaster yelled the order out: “Get ready!” I looked around at the other Airborne paratrooper students; by the look in their eyes I could tell they were as scared as I was. The jumpmaster then yelled, “Outboard personnel, stand up!” This was my cue to stand. Now or never. It was hard to stand with the parachute on and the turbulence from the airplane. Salty sweat burned my eyes. Adrenaline started to flow in me, and my legs trembled. I was getting a little bit nervous. The next order given was “Hook up.” I hooked my parachute static line to the metal wire going down the length of the airplane. My heart pounding, I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision in joining the Airborne. It wasn’t too late to back out; nobody would say anything, and no one would even remember me. I thought about the past two weeks of hard training and running at Airborne School. No, I was going to go through with it. We approached the drop zone. My stomach was tied in knots.

Chapter Three: Desert Storm

One night on a mission, one of our helicopters dropped a combat team off in an undisclosed location for combat operations. A bunch of Iraqi soldiers had surrendered to the team. The unit had no choice but to treat them as prisoners of war; as such, they were not considered combatants anymore. Not too many 19-year-old medics can say they worked on prisoners of war fresh off the field of battle. The unit brought back about 15 enemy prisoners with them. I seriously doubt that they were “captured” in the military sense of the word, particularly as they had very little fight left in them from how they looked. We had all heard the rumors about how Iraqi soldiers were surrendering, even to reporters.

Chapter Four: Army Training

After establishing what platoon we belonged to, the drill sergeants began the process of making our lives miserable for the next eight weeks. The first training exercise we did was a stand-up and sit-down exercise. One drill sergeant would yell, “Stand up!” and another drill sergeant would yell, “Sit down!” This stand-up / sit-down exercise lasted for a couple of hours. I was getting so sore from doing something so simple. The next event that occurred was to meet our drill sergeants face-to-face. The drill sergeants talked to each individual soldier for a few minutes. I heard what the drill sergeant was saying to the other soldiers. He commented on their facial features, places they were from, and questioned their gender. A drill sergeant asked a basic trainee where he was from; the guy just answered, “Yes drill sergeant,” and said nothing more. The drill sergeant stared at this basic trainee expecting an answer, and the trainee started to cry. The drill sergeant just shook his head in disbelief and went on to the next guy in line.