Voodoo Medics keep up with elite soldiers
CORPORAL Jody Tieche doesn’t hesitate when asked how he felt about his role as a medic working with Australia’s special forces in Afghanistan. “Loved it.” Like his fellow Voodoo Medics, our country’s top war healers, the excitement and thrill of “being in the thick of it, on the ground with the guys” is something Tieche will remember forever. He spoke during News Corps Voodoo Medics investigation. “I loved those moments. That was why you joined up to be part of a team and this is it, you’re in a war zone. These are the Gucci sorts of things that you do,” he said. Coming from a family of military chefs, Tieche jumped at the chance of joining the Australian Defence Force in 2002, just shy of his 17th birthday. After a medical, he discovered he was colour blind and not eligible for officer’s entry so he turned his focus towards military medicine. He was deployed to East Timor for four months before two tours of Afghanistan. He describes Afghanistan as “the armpit of the world” – a place where, in summer it feels as though someone is holding “a hair dryer to your face”. As well as dealing with heat and limited medical equipment in the field, medics are required to keep up with the elite fighters they’re looking after or risk being a burden. “You’re expected to have a higher level of fitness, obviously know your job and be expected to step up when needed,” Tieche said. “From other units I’ve served with, it’s more like, ‘Do we have to take the medic?’ type of mentality and you don’t really get to know the platoons or companies. “But being with Alpha Company (from Sydney’s 2nd Commando Regiment), you’re fully integrated with them, doing scenario-based training with them, which is great.” Tieche describes the Voodoo Medics’ style as “that ditch medicine sort of mentality,” describing how medics must rely on what they’ve got on their backs in hostile environments to treat casualties.