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No Less Glory – Medic

“Medic!”

Jim Goodnight has heard that scream hundreds of times lately. Even though he isn’t the only medic in his platoon, he responds immediately.  During this campaign of the war to end all wars, every other medic is already out there helping some wounded comrade.

Jim has been hunkered down in the safety of a small ridge in the field where the battle takes place. The noise of heavy artillery, mostly Allied at this point in the war would have been deafening but Jim had trained himself to nearly tone it down to background noise so that he will clearly hear the call.

“Medic!”

Jim scans the tall grassy field in the direction of the sound of the voice. He sees a movement just to his left. It appears to be an arm waving. As he focuses in on the motion, he can make out a soldier on one knee resting his M1 Garand barrel high against his body. He can barely make out another soldier lying at his feet.

He grabs his medical kit and starts toward the scene. Just as he takes a step, several yards behind his determined destination, the earth flies up in response to a mortar’s intrusion. His soldier reacts by arching his back and clasping his helmet with his hand.

The sounds of battle become background noise for the swish and rustle of the tall grass brushing  against Jim’s body. He is thankful for the tall grass as it is also covers him from enemy eyes. Unfortunately for Jim, it also hides the red cross on his helmet.

A slight sting across his upper arm follows the shrill whiz which passes too near his head, the pain grows to a burning sensation causing him to momentarily drop his medical bag. He stops running only momentarily to pick up his bag.

Another bullet whines by him and pierces the ground to the right of where his back foot used to be. Jim hunkers down just a little bit more and begins to move in a zigzag pattern on his path to the wounded soldier.

The bullets stop. The enemy must have recognized him as a medic or so Jim hopes. He nearly reaches his target but the grass is so thick he can only recognize the soldier who called to him. The one on the ground is still too hard to see but he can see enough to know that the uniform is not that of an American soldier.

“What’s you got soldier?” Jim asks as he reaches the spot where the wounded soldier lies.

When he looks down, he recognizes the uniform.

“I didn’t know what else to do, Doc,” the wide-eyed teenager squeals as he grips his M1 with both hands.

“Jim, my name is Jim.”

“Hey, mine is too. Only I go by James,” the youngster replies forgetting about where he is and the danger around him.

“He’s a German, James,” Jim determines.

“Yeah… yeah, I know but he’s wounded and he was begging for help. I nearly stepped on him.”

Jim pauses for a moment but then let’s his training kick in. He finds the wound which doesn’t take long as the epicenter of the mass of blood and clothing is a pretty good size hole in the man’s side that becomes easily visible when Jim moves the German’s hand off of it.

Even though the man appears to be dead, Jim can see him still breathing, although barely. The skin is pale but when Jim presses against the wound to stop the bleeding, the man groans and pulls his legs towards his chest.

Jim pours some sulfa powder on the wound, field dresses it, and administers morphine so quickly to the amazement and admiration of the young soldier watching.

“I’m probably going to regret this but help me drag him back to camp. We’ll let somebody higher rank decide what to do with him.”

The teenager obeys by throwing his rifle strap over one shoulder and taking one arm of the German over his opposite shoulder. Jim gathered together his supplies and throws the German’s arm over his shoulder amid groans and moans of the wounded which are growing weaker.

“Stay low, soldier. We don’t want to draw too much attention,” Jim figures he had better remind his youthful partner.

In what seemed like an eternity, and after I few missteps and tumbles, the two Americans bring their wounded, dying enemy to their camp.

“Look what the cat and Doc brought in, Lieutenant,” Sargent Major Paul Cooper grunts.

“Doc, don’t we have enough wounded of our own that you have to drum up business elsewhere?” Lt. Steve Hammond halfheartedly jokes.

“In my judgement sir, he was dying, sir.”

“So, isn’t that what we’re to do, eliminate the enemy?” Cooper submits as he offers Jim a cigarette.

“It is my understanding that dying enemy soldiers are to be treated. Isn’t that right, Lieutenant?” Jim accepts the cigarette and gestures with a nod begging for a lighter.

“What do you propose we do with him, Doc?” a flame flares as Cooper pops open his lighter with the question.

“That’s for higher pay rates than me to decide,” Jim pokes the end of cigarette in his mouth into the flame of Coopers lighter.

James stares at Cooper as Cooper puts away his lighter and pokes his pack of cigarettes in his pocket.

“You look too young to smoke, Sonny,” Cooper teases as drags a lone cigarette out of his pocket.

Jim Goodnight takes a few puffs of is cigarette. Lt. Hammond notices and points to Jim’s wound.

“Just a flesh wound. Not enough to waste supplies on.”

“Medic!”

Jim takes a drag or two more from the half burned cigarette and then drops and buries it into the ground with the toe of his boot. He directs his eyes from where the call hails, salutes the lieutenant and dashes back out into harms way.

“Finish that quickly, kid and get back out there,” Lieutenant Hammond orders with deadpan expression.

 

 

Categories: Medical Heroes Short Story

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at douglasknight85@gmail.com.

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