Veteran Nurses

by Angela Brooks

My friend PJ McClure from the Mindset Maven posted last week for Veteran’s day. It really shifted my thinking as to how many nurses are flying in those same Black Hawk helicopters. Click the link to read PJ’s full post.I also shared the post below) As I was started my shift at the hospital a group of students came in with their instructor. One of the students shared with me she has been reading this blog, and then we connected on facebook. As I looked at her pictures I noticed she was in a army uniform in flight gear. She had served our country as a medic.

I could not wait to speak to her again and thank her for the time she served. She blew it off like it was not a big deal… it was. She is a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, she is a nurse. Thank you Pam I appreciate you.

As the night began, the staffing for the shift came and in, once again another veteran, now a nurse. Although he was not a nurse when he served his time in Afghanistan – he is our veteran that we appreciate for his time served. He was a lucky one – he came back in one piece in the physical body but the memories will never leave. He is a husband, a dad, a brother, son.

“The bullets were so close, I could hear them pinging off of the rotors.”

The rotors were those of the Black Hawk helicopter piloted by Capt. Robert McDonough of the 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. The bullets were provided by up to 40 Taliban insurgents who had pinned down a German platoon in a remote area of Afghanistan.

On April 2, 2010, Capt. McDonough and 13 fellow members of the 12th CAB were conducting a medical evacuation of 11 German soldiers, wounded in the attack. Against advisement, the members of the 12th CAB flew into extremely hostile conditions to do all they could to save their German brothers. Eight trips in to and out of heavy fire rescued all 11.

Their evacuation is now called the Good Friday Mission in some circles.

Just in case you’re thinking, “well that’s just what soldiers do,” I want you to know that those 14 members of the 12th CAB received Gold Cross medals from Germany. They are the first non-German soldiers to ever receive the distinction. This was, and always will be, a special event.

Think for a moment about what it took for them to make such a feat possible.

  • Human nature alone makes it difficult to put your life in danger. Everything about us is designed for self-preservation.

  • Reaction time was next to none and they had no opportunity to strategize. They had to go NOW!

  • Everything about this mission, about the lives of every soldier, is an exercise in service and is based in mindset.

Soldiers are called. In this day and age, most of them have a choice as to whether or not they will answer. They do.

Yes, they are trained extensively in the physical nature of their new world. Engineering, precision, and execution. But that physical representation of the life of a soldier is, in my humble opinion, the smallest percentage of what makes a soldier special. The physical acts are only an extension of the stability of their mindset. Written by PJ McClure


Thank you Veterans with out you … I could not be writing this

Angela Brooks is a leading distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. Dedicated to natural health solutions, Brooks provides people with healing alternatives without harsh side effects. Additionally, Brooks is a mental health nurse committed to bringing mental happiness to the nursing profession by motivating and supporting nurses around the country.


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Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pamela Paquet November 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Our mission there was to not only pic up our own soldiers, but coalition forces such as the French troops, British, etc. We Lao serviced the local national community there. It was heartbreaking most to evac the children who got caught up in bad situations like crossfire or road side bombs. One of my friends on facebook was a patient of mine, American contract civilian who was caught up in an IED incident (road side bomb) in which he lost both legs. His name is Steve Martin and he has been such an inspiration to me. I was there on perhaps the worst day of his life and brought him from the site to the hospital there in Bagram, Afghanistan. I feel so blessed to still see his pictures and see him walk again. The most touching moment in the back of the helicopter was when the soldier (also an amputee) reached out and grabbed Steve's hand. You never expect to see such compassion on the battlefield. I am a hard person to break, but I nearly lost it that day crying just to be there. I feel so extremely blessed to have been able to go next door and visit the children I got to bring in, with the chaplain and we started a trend there where churches and numerous other agencies would send us toys to help keep the childrens spirits high and clothing- because most were brought in under traumatic situations, their originals were cut off. These organizations would also send blankets, you name it. It was so rewarding to see the look on their faces light up. I usually paint my daughters nails for them and place little stickers on them, when my oldest suggested (on my 2 week R&R) "mommy, why don't you take these over to paint the girls nails in Afghanistan?" I hadn't thought of it. So I took my nail polishes back with me and it was a weekly routine to go over to paint their nails on my down days from flying. I had one little girl who was missing her whole right arm from mid radius down, lost site in her right eye and lost her ring finger on her left hand. She about 5 years old and I remeber the day we picked her up. Her greatest loss however was the loss if her mother during the rocket propelled grenade that hit their car- missing the convoy of US troop vehicles. I only had four nails to paint on her left hand so we painted her toenails too. She would smile so beautifully. To say that there are angels among us is not to necessarily even think of spiritual assets but they can even be the people her on earth, that are our saving grace. Tough times come to us all, but I think the real angels out there are the ones that save us from ourselves when you think you cannot bear to see the hurt and fear and trauma related to your job anymore. You have people like Steve and this little girl that remind us of how lucky we are and the impact that we as nurses and medics have on their lives. I am truely blessed."

2 Angela Brooks November 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Pam – Thank you for allowing me to share your story. There will be people that will meet you who will never know this side of the outstanding nurse that is taking care of them. But those that read this post will.

3 denny hagel November 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for sharing this Angela…I am grateful.

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