It was quite overcast and very, very humid
and usually Iraq is quite sunny most days
but this was just a little bit different,
so it had a different feeling to it.
We got called to the helicopter
because of a shooting incident with a head injury.
The task wasn't too far away.
It was on the actual firing range
not far from Basra.
A young man, a lance corporal,
he'd only been in theater a couple of days
and he was only young.
And he had an incidence when trying to clear a stoppage
from a Minimi weapon
and unfortunately a round went through his hand
or through his wrist and into his head.
He was clearly in a bad state.
So, we put him aboard the helicopter
and I took my position as everybody else did
in the helicopter
and he was, we very quickly took off
and went to the medical facility
but en route he seemed to with his eyes open,
seemed to be looking at me.
And I felt very helpless.
Very, very helpless.
It felt like I should be doing something.
The medics were working furiously to do everything
they possibly could with him
and he had horrific injury, horrific.
But that vision of him staring into my eyes
was something that locked into my brain.
We landed at the medical facility
and we unloaded him and off he went.
And sadly he didn't make it.
The next day, I was in the actual mess facility
where we had a TV set up
and there was BBC News that was on there
and there was a picture of the latest casualty of Iraq
and it was up there and it was him
and obviously the only time I'd seen him not injured
and that was quite profound to me,
I saw him in his uniform,
smiling and yeah, it really hit me pretty hard.
I started to struggle a bit.
The image of this young man
who we loaded onto the helicopter,
he began to appear to me in,
I now know, an intrusive thought
or known as a flashback.
And I didn't know how to deal with it.
I thought, incorrectly thought
that if I would divulge this information to the military,
then I would be kicked out of the military.
And for many, many years
the only way I found to hide this
was with alcohol.
It made it easier to handle to see this image.
So, eventually I developed PTSD.
And which I'm still being helped with today.