If you haven’t seen Baghdad ER, the documentary about the people — the nurses, doctors, corpsmen, orderlies, et al — of the 86th Combat Support Hospital (CSH; since replaced by the 10th CSH out of Fort Carson) out of Fort Campbell, and you have an opinion about this or any other war and haven’t ever lived through one — a war that is — I suggest you sit your ass in front of the television and order HBO or annoy the hell out of friends who have it, because this will absolutely, unequivocally leave you breathless.
The documentary was done by two-time Emmy Award winning producer/director Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill. It also includes coverage of the various personnel from several different units — most National Guard — who patrol the infamous Route Irish, better known in the media as IED Alley. There is also some extraordinary footage of actual Medevac pickups performed by the 54th Medical Company Air Ambulance Team.
There is some absolutely brutal footage in this, so it isn’t for the squeamish, but if you want to see a side of war than transcends the glory of combat, this is it.
A frank, honest look at a modern MASH unit circa mid-2005, complete with tasteless jokes, gore, amputations, horrific wounds, incredible sorrow and a look at the real meaning of heroism, both on the field of combat and in its aftermath.
And those of you who want to know what being a soldier is all about. Watch the face and listen to what is said by the wounded GI who is told he's going home for further surgery.