BATTLING TO FIND POST-WAR PEACE OF MIND
Fighting medics on coping with the battlefield’s traumatic toll back in civilian life
THEY are elite fighters, operating in high-performing teams with a powerful sense of purpose in their life — until the day they discharge from the military.
“Then you get out and you’re at home washing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk,” said Major Bram Connolly, who spent more than 20 years in the Australian Defence Force.
“You’re no longer in a Blackhawk at night racing across the desert with someone yelling out ‘30 seconds’ before you’re running out and getting shot at and you’re shooting back.”
All of a sudden veterans are at home, thrust back into “normal” life with families and domestic duties. For many, the initial transition back into civilian society is fraught.
It is at least equally true for the Voodoo Medics, the elite group of medical specialists who accompany our special forces into combat whose stories are revealed in the News Corp series.
Because of the nature of their work, even seasoned special forces soldiers say the medics saw the worst of the trauma on the battlefield.
By the time Major Dan Pronk, a former doctor within Australia’s Special Operations Command, discharged in 2014, he felt like he had merged with his role of combat doctor.
“I cut my hair down into a Mohawk and grew a goatee beard,” he said.
“All emotion was removed
Voodoo Medic Dan Pronk in the Afghan war zone.