Semper Praepartus Bene

Translation: Always Prepare Well

I was a cherry during my first weeks at the Army Academy of Health Sciences. Even though I had a college degree in Biology and was freshly pinned on butter bars ( I was a newly minted Second Lieutenant), I knew nothing. I certainly wasn’t experienced with the blood and gore associated with combat.

Sure, we were shown some ultra graphic footage taken at MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) casualty collection points, Battalion Aid Stations, and Mortuary affairs. There was no solemn music, no narration, no attempt at production values—only a film depicting raw carnage and death with the occasional hacksaw amputation. I felt a way I had never felt before. I grew up ten years in the short time the films ran. This sh*t was real, and this would be our future.

Cut to one of my first medical classes; it looked like absolute carnage. Heads were split open, exposing gray matter, shiny intestines were spilling out of bloody abdomens, and faces were shredded seemingly beyond repair. Had I not known it was all fake, I would have been horrified. However, the instructors I was learning from had seen the carnage, and they knew how to replicate it extremely realistically using the art and science of moulage.