The National Guard, the Iraq war and the Boston Bombing

They all come together at the Boston Marathon

Normally reading or speaking any of these things evokes a vision of some very bad feelings

In the bombings that occurred at the end of the Boston Marathon in some strange but opportune fashion all of these things came together in a great way.

Before I go any further let me say that being a Navy veteran of the Vietnam war, a brother currently serving in the US Air Force and grandson in the US Army that has done one tour in Afghanistan I salute all the military men and women for their sacrifices for our country. Salute!

Part one – The National Guard

Tough Ruck soldiers clearing a path to victims Military Friends Foundation
Tough Ruck soldiers clearing a path to victims Military Friends Foundation

Actually the presence of the National Guard personnel proved to be opportune. There were other National Guard members at various locations along the route. After completing the run this group went from being participants to being tactical military when the bombs went off. They immediately began clearing the debris for the first responders. Later, when the chaos had subsided, they switched modes to security for the bomb scene. Excellent work and one hell of a training day!

At 5:20 a.m. on Monday, four hours before the Boston Marathon’s elite runners took off, a group of 15 active-duty soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard gathered at the starting line in Hopkinton. Each soldier was in full combat uniform and carried a “ruck,” a military backpack weighing about 40 pounds. The rucks were filled with Camelbacks of water, extra uniforms, Gatorade, changes of socks—and first-aid and trauma kits. It was all just supposed to be symbolic.
“Forced marches” or “humps” are a regular part of military training, brisk walking over tough terrain while carrying gear that could help a soldier survive if stranded alone. These soldiers, participating in “Tough Ruck 2013,” were doing the 26 miles of the Boston Marathon to honor comrades killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or lost to suicide and PTSD-related accidents after coming home. READ THE ARTICLE

Part Two – The Iraq War

War is Hell! Don’t know who said it but I know it to be true! And it is a well known fact that one off the beneficial outcomes of these wars is one of improving our medical capabilities to treat the wounded. With the texture of the new ground wars and the proliferation of IED‘s, there have been some massive gains in the triage and treatment of these kinds of wounds. And in the case of the Boston Marathon bombs these were exactly those kinds of wounds. And it is said that the first responders, the a fore mentioned National Guard troops and the hospital staff were actually ready and fully capable of handling just this sort of tragedy.

As first responders and hospitals handled nearly 200 casualties of the marathon bombings, one factor that helped them save lives was the military’s experienced with improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those wars in effect served as field trials for doctors developing a new set of best practices for dealing with traumatic lower-body wounds, helping to dramatically lower mortality rates for injuries that were once virtual death sentences.
Military hospitals “can’t do prospective research, but they can record a tremendous amount of experience and give that back to civilian research,” said Dr. Carl Hauser, a trauma surgeon at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “This particular incident here was very much one where they had helped us.” READ THE ARTICLE

All in all let me say this about that. Yes the bombing was a traumatic event but as we all saw is the dramatic videos and following pictures that the reactions to the bombs was swift and decisive. Once the momentary shock wore off everyone immediately headed directly into the blast area to help. Look at the videos of the blast again if you can bear it and watch the street reactions. It is nothing short of phenomenal. I am proud to say that this is what America is made of and in the face of adversity,insensitive acts of violence, and even natural disasters, we always head into the fray and not away from it! Excellent!



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I am an aging American Navy veteran with some very pointed and acidic opinions. Feel free to heed the warning and read on.

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