Voodoo Medics keep up with elite sol­diers

Western Times - - NEWS -

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.

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