Why I wrote my book

Hello, my name is Patrick Thibeault, author of My Journey as a Combat Medic. I wrote the book because I wanted to share my story of what I saw while I was in harm's way. The story of the combat medic is one that is often ignored in battle accounts and war histories. The combat medic is often the first health care professional to treat wounded soldiers the combat zone. However, the role of the medic is much more than that. I served as a combat medic in two different wars and in what I consider to be two different eras, and these eras are separated by the events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

My first experience in war was as a young, naïve medic assigned to the newly formed 3rd Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). I remember those days as a new medic, everything I did in combat was new for me and I made a lot of mistakes. I learned a lot though, and quickly. Iraq had invaded Kuwait and the United States responded. My unit was sent over to help fight in the war and I would be sent over to do my job. I was still a teenager but I remember those experiences vividly; the sights and sounds, explosions, and everything that a medic experiences while taking care of wounded in combat are still fresh in my mind. I wrote the chapter ‘Desert Storm’ to share those unique experiences. I believe that every soldier’s experiences are unique and help shape and mold that person. In a small way this book is a historical document, the overall events that occurred are documented but individual experiences will vary. The perspective will vary also. I wrote from the perspective of a young, new combat medic.  

I served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; the second era that I served in. The technology of war was more advanced by this stage and difficulty in communications, transportation, and logistics have been improved upon. The medical care of the wounded in battle has not changed so much as the way we would report on it. Sure, bandages change, therapies change, but the role of the combat medic who is initial medical provider has not.

I also wrote this book to deal with my own issues, primarily PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). As a sufferer of PTSD, I feel it is so important that society understands what goes in the mind of a soldier and veteran who suffers from this disorder. The stereotype of the veteran who has PTSD is not a fair one; some in society see us as outcasts only to be felt sorry for because of how we veterans poorly mismanage our disorder that we did not ask for. I address that stereotype and counter it with a real life example of an everyday veteran who suffers from PTSD but yet drives on. I wrote this book as an inspiration for others who suffer from PTSD and, more mportantly, for society as a whole to see who we are as veterans.


My Journey as a Combat Medic: From Desert Storm to Operation Enduring Freedom is the second of Osprey's new Digital Only series of eBooks. It will be available to download in July.