Peter van Agtmael
American Wars: 9-Line
SGT Jimmy McReynolds, a medic with the 10th Combat Support Hospital on his second tour to Iraq, carries a horribly burned U.S. soldier to the gator, a golf cart sized vehicle for carrying casualties from the helicopter landing zone to the hospital entrance. The soldier was burned over 90% of his body when a roadside bomb hit his armored vehicle, igniting the fuel tank and burning to death two of his comrades. Dangling from either side of his stretcher was his camouflage uniform, ripped open by the medics on the helicopter. He lay there, thin and exposed in playfully patterned boxers, skin peeling away in clumps, deep red welts where the burns were deepest. He was drifting in and out of unconsciousness, his eyes sometimes stabbing open for a few seconds. He woke up again in agony when he was transferred from the stretcher to the ER bed, screaming ‘daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy’ then ‘put me to sleep, please put me to sleep.’
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