Whitsunday Times : 2018-12-13

NEWS : 15 : 15

NEWS

15 Thursday, December 13, 2018 whitsundaytimes.com.au 05 DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU TUESDAY OCTOBER 23 2018 is all in a day’s work Cpl Jody Tieche works on Pvt Chad Elliott during an ambush (main picture) The medic (bottom right) and commando (bottom left) were attached to 4RAR. PRIVATE CHAD ELLIOTT Elliott, 36, was fast tracked into special forces after joining 4RAR (Cdo) via a direct recruiting scheme in 2004. Went to Afghanistan three times and was seriously wounded when he was shot in the femur on his second trip in 2007. Private Chad Elliott CORPORAL JODY TIECHE UK-born but Perth raised, Tieche, 34, joined the ADF in 2002 before being posted to 4RAR (Cdo). Deployed as a medic to Afghanistan twice and saved Elliott’s life on his first tour. CORPORAL MARK DONALDSON VC The boy from Dorrigo who became one of Australia’s most decorated veterans when he received the first Victoria Cross to be awarded since Vietnam. The 39-yearold worked closely with Voodoo Medics and was treated by them during numerous Afghan tours. CORPORAL JEREMY HOLDER MG Holder, 34, joined the army as a medic in 2002 and was posted to 4RAR (Cdo). Went to Afghanistan in 2006 and later received a Medal of Gallantry for saving six commandos and an interpreter during Operation Perth. Treated hundreds of casualties during that trip including many Afghan civilians. MAJOR DAN PRONK treatment, including removing shrapnel. He was then flown to Germany, where surgeons inserted a titanium rod to hold his hip and femur together, and finally home to Sydney’s North Shore Private Hospital. It was six weeks before he walked again and six months before he redeployed. “I was pretty keen to get back there. I’d done all of my rehab, my training and I’d been passed to deploy,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got over there zone” where Tieche gave him intravenous fluids, checked his morphine and monitored his vital signs while they waited for an evacuation helicopter. “Jody was very confident and relaxed — just your typical surfie, nothing would really worry him,” said Elliott. “He’s perfect as a medic. “Jody’s treatment of me was perfect. If it wasn’t good I’d be dead right now.” A US Blackhawk evacuated Elliott to the multinational base at Tarin Kowt, where American surgeons stabilised him before he was transferred to Kandahar for further event, character building, something that I’ll never forget. It’s changed me for the better.” Elliott and Tieche were already firm friends, having trained together and finding they shared a love of surfing and ‘screamo’ bands. But a lifelong bond was formed in the dirt that day 11 years ago. “He’s the person who saved my life,” Elliott said. “It’s a pretty special thing. Not many people would have that. Although we don’t travel and see each other we’ll always be friends. That will stay forever.” “I heard it over the comms that we had a prior 1 casualty and we were off,” said Tieche. “As soon as I peeled around the back of vehicle we had some small arms fire. “It was all go. I remember thinking ‘wow this is such a movie scene in itself’.” Isolated in the desert, the platoon could rely only on the equipment they had carried. Tieche used an antenna shot off a damaged vehicles as a splint for Elliott’s legs. Despite his wounds, Elliott still had his mind on the enemy. “I managed to pull out my pistol and shoot off a few rounds … while I was being treated,” he said. It would be the last time Elliott fired his gun in combat. Elliott was extracted to a “safe that it really hit me. My body wasn’t quite up for it yet … but also mentally getting back out there was very hard.” As Elliott was about to pass out of the gate at Tarin Kowt for his platoon’s first “gig” of the trip, he realised he “couldn’t do it”. “It was extremely hard to leave the guys … it’s pretty much another family so to see them go out and go my separate way was very hard for me,” he said. “That was the hardest decision of my life.” Despite his injuries, Elliott has no regrets. “I don’t think I’d change what happened,” he said. “It was a lifechanging An doctor who completed SAS selection, Pronk went to Afghanistan four times 2009-13. Awarded a CDS in 2012. Accompanied special forces operators on more than 100 combat missions. MAJOR BRAM CONNOLLY DSM A 20-year army veteran, Connolly, 44, received the Distinguished Service Medal for leadership in combat in Afghanistan. Was platoon commander during the infamous battle of Zabat Kalay. NEXT WEEK: A POINTLESS DEATH RESTORE SIGHT FOR JUST $25 4 OUT OF 5 PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND DON’T NEED TO BE DONATE NOW 1800 352 352 HOLLOWS.ORG.AU

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