Thanks guys! I was thinking Afghanistan. Not familiar with Iraq or any of the missions, but I need the possibility of a cave for them to accidentally discover.
FWIW, it is a fantasy more than a war novel. The military part is mostly for character building and a bit of plot glue.
I’m a US Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician by trade, not a combat medic, but all AF EOD techs get what’s called Combat Lifesaver (CLS) training before each and every deployment. So what I’ve got to say may or may not help you, but I thought I’d offer.
CLS is a kind of intermediate step between self aid/buddy care (what every other douchebag in the AF gets) and a combat medic, although I’m not sure the AF has an equivalent to a *combat *medic necessarily. CLS means that we’re combat troops first and medics second, so if we’re still being engaged by the enemy, the only thing we’re really supposed to do is apply a tourniquet to a bleeding extremity and get back in the fight. Then we move on to “continuing care” when we can: we’re trained to control hemorrhaging other ways, control shock, treat collapsed lungs, administer IV fluids, and manage airways, that type of thing.
My experience in Iraq, and I’m on my third tour right now, is that we’re not really conducting operations on a daily basis… when US Army Infantry/Armored/Stryker/whatever units are out there doing their job and come across an IED or a weapons cache, they give us a call and we go take care of it. When we get a call, we roll out with Army units whose primary job is as EOD’s security. The units we roll with don’t have medics with them, typically, but each soldier there knows that EOD is CLS certified, so if something happens to one of them, we’re most likely the ones best-qualified to treat them, and our vehicle is usually the designated casevac vehicle. The EOD units I’ve been a part of in Iraq have been small, only 25-30 techs, including all our senior enlisted and officers, who don’t actually perform EOD ops, and each team (usually one team per call) is three EOD techs. I understand that the Afghan EOD flights are much more dynamic in the way they conduct their operations, though.
FWIW, the AF works like the Army in that your eventual job is in your contract as an enlistment incentive. A career field like EOD, you can get dropped from during training, but most people enlist in the AF with a job in their contract. And unless I’m remembering wrong, my brother joined the Marine Corps with a guaranteed position as an F-18 ordnanceman, so either the Marine Corps has changed, or maybe they only do that for certain jobs, I don’t know.
I don’t know if any of that made sense to you, Epimetheus, or if it helped you at all, but good luck on your book. November is a good month to work on it, being NaNoWriMo and all!