Dave Williamson

From reading "All Quiet on the Western Front" I gathered that war was a kind of learning experience. I found a veterans' chat list and asked if any combat medics would tell their story. Dave Williamson sent me back an email titled "Your Iraqi Medic."

Dave joined the Army at 19. He was enticed into training as a medic — a post for which he had no previous interest — by opportunity, ignorance, and "a lot of females" . There he found something at which he is truely excellent and underwent combat experience that he is terribly proud of, and also still struggling to recover from.

At 25 Dave still looks like a kid who — to use his own expression — recently fell off the turnip truck. But his story is anything but innocent, and his youth belies a depth that few others can equal, no matter what their age.

Interview Excerpts
Read the full interview :

"That was the first and last time I let a patient have a personal impact on me. When his heel fell out of his foot I’m thinking, 'He’s never going to have a normal life. He’s not going to be able to play soccer with his kids.' He’s 17 years old. I went back to the barracks and I cried about that one…"

"Just because a teacher tells you … that this is what you’re going to see or do… you will most likely see the complete opposite. And what are you going to do when it comes around? Are you going to say, 'Oh, well I never learned that.' Or are you going to say, 'OK, I acknowledge that I don’t know that, and I’m going to take it upon myself to make sure I don’t look like a blubbering idiot next time that rolls around…'”

"And the next time it happens and you still don’t know it — and it doesn’t have to be in medicine — you just look like a fool. Someone is going to be there to point out, 'You’ve seen this before, and you didn’t know what was going on then. Why don’t you know what’s going on now?'”


scanned article from "The Times" of Shreveport, LA
photo: Dave Williamson with Sgt. Crosby at Washington LZ

Copyright © 2010, Lincoln Stoller. All rights reserved.