Frustration

So one of my SGTs (and a good friend from our tour Afghanistan) comes in to the office on Tuesday to do part of a make up for a drill that he will be missing, and help me with some miscellaneous issues that require a sergeantly bit of judgment and discretion. In passing, he mentions that a mutual friend from our company was in a car accident last Friday but "is going to be fine."

This one. [Text version for media impaired]

So before anything else, let me sincerely thank Dave Buckingham, H. L. Kurt, and Brian Mounce for investigating a crash in the middle of the night and taking prompt action which saved the life of my friend, who hunts bad guys in Burien as a county mountie when he's not hunting bad guys in the remote mountains of Afghanistan. Your nation and community are blessed for your concern.

(It should be noted that my tovarishch has really bad luck with vehicular incidents during the summer. In June of 2006, he was crushed against a building by a humvee; the medic was driving, so at least the morphine arrived promptly. In June of 2007, he got plastered by a van; he's not sure of the details, since he has no memory of the event. Last year he was exceedingly careful. This year he was a month early, but at least he was inside the car this time.)

I didn't take the news too seriously until Wednesday morning when I idly looked up the story on the intarweb. Holy crap, thought I, someone is going to want to know about this. And sure enough, we have to file a serious incident report up the chain to State whenever one of our guys is involved in something wonky.

The problem is that all we had to go on was the initial tip from our other guy, who lives down the street a few doors from SGT Painmagnet (as I have now dubbed him), and the news report. I have left voice mails at every number I have for the family. I was able to get semi-official confirmation about his general status and whereabouts, but Harborview is not in the habit of giving out information to anybody not related to the patient. The company commander, another captain from Battalion, our supply sergeant and I all went up there this morning, but were not able to get much more than sideways confirmation that he was there and not in any particular danger of expiring any time soon. We couldn't even leave a message.

This is very frustrating. SGT Painmagnet loves the Army and loves his Army job--but his wife does not. His family is completely disengaged from the military, attends no functions, and has never even been seen aside from when we returned from OEF. It probably never occurred to anyone to let us know that he was in serious condition in a hospital after a bad car wreck, but we're supposed to report his status to higher headquarters on a regular basis. Our first report looked an awful lot like the news article.

All I can do is leave nice voice mail messages and ask his battle buddy to ask the wife to contact us. I'm not about to intrude on an already stressful time by showing up at their house. I may storm Harborview again, however.

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