June 23, 2004
Anthony was probably the top-performer of the day. He got the IV working when we were having trouble with it (he ended up putting it in the guy’s hand) and he stayed on top of things throughout the entire process.
The short video clip was taken on accident. I meant to take a photo, but the camera was accidentally set to take video. I was using someone else’s camera that day. This scene haunts me. (JCH, 2012)
I debated about whether or not to include this image. I think about this face often. This was the first dead guy I’d ever seen. When we first came to the scene one of the guys with us who has had “combat lifesaver” training told me he was done– no pulse, no breathing. So we focused our attention on the other two men. I never checked for myself. I was too quick to take that soldier at his word. I often wonder if I tried harder– if I tried at all– if I could have saved this guy. But I didn’t. With the very reluctant help of a few other soldiers we got him onto a poncho and onto the hood of our Humvee to move him closer to the main road so he could be picked up. We bungled getting him onto the hood and partly dropped his body in the process. I think that’s how he got those two parallel cuts on his brow. Postmortem, as there’s no blood.
For years I didn’t want to share this photo because I felt that it was too graphic or in bad taste, but his face is young and was probably about my age, and it’s a face I can’t get out of my head. He doesn’t really look dead to me. Maybe that’s why I thought I could have saved him. It looks like he had a recent haircut. He’s a stranger to me, but he’s very real and very human. Shot by his own countrymen as punishment for working with us, the Americans. It was a barren and desolate place. The walk he took down that gully was his last. What a shitty place to die. (JCH, 2012)