He finished his medic course in July of 1974 and got his wish to be posted back to the RLI. He was posted in an operational area around Mt. Darwin, dealing with injuries sustained by the troops in the field. He found it to be a comfortable place where he could write and get stamps, but the boredom began to get to him. He wanted to be on the sharp end of the spear. He proposed to the CO that he wanted to go out and act as a medic and infantryman. He had both skills and the CO approved his request.
He joined the sticks going on callouts. It was here that he had a chance to treat onsite battle casualties. On one operation, he spent the night in a krall attending to some civilian casualties awaiting a casevac the next morning. A bit of a harrowing experience.
Terrorist activity increased during this time around Mt. Darwin and his skills as a medic and soldier were put to use. He noted that having a combat medic in the line increased the confidence and morale of the Troopies. Coey began to regain his sense of purpose and vigor that had brought him to Rhodesia. He writes, “It’s important for me to remain a combat soldier and a specialist medic, because only then will some people listen to you when you attempt to explain the bigger issues; of such, the battle for Rhodesia is only one.” And, “I feel that I have found my historical role here, and once that is finished, I don’t know what I’ll do….”
There was trepidation at granting his request due to the lack of trained medics at the time. He believed that in doing this it would improve the morale and respect of the Medical Corps. A Commando Medic. He cited the use of the USMC and their use of the Corpsman in the ranks of the rifle company. A medic who acted in a combatant role would serve a dual purpose of being able to fight, as well as a better chance of saving valuable troops by responding on the spot.