Our Community

SOFREP readers are some of the finest people I’ve ever met. And  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few in my time here, especially at places like SHOT show, the NRA convention, and SOF Week. We’re a community. I say “we” because I was a longtime reader way before I ever submitted my first piece to the site.

Our community is the type of people who would give you the shirt off their backs.  One valued member of our community, who I have the pleasure of calling my friend, is over in Ukraine right now. He’s been there for a couple of weeks now. And oh, the stuff he’s seen. Just the other week, as he was taking a walk with his significant other and checking out the damage to a civilian facility, he witnessed no other than the leader of the nation, Vlodymyr Zelensky, silently praying for the dead amongst the rubble.  It must have been a surreal moment.

Men holding supplies
A box full of medical supplies (tourniquets and Israeli bandages) that went on to save numerous lives. These TCCC tourniquets were shipped to Estonia from Canada by a UK connection/vendor. They were then driven in a van from Estonia to Ukraine a month after the full invasion.  Photo courtesy of Lifeline

A Lifeline to Those in Need

Since we can’t use his name, I’ve given him the codename “Lifeline.” This is appropriate because he has been helping to get Ukrainian medical units badly needed supplies since the beginning of the war. With hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian casualties, both military and civilian, you could say treating the injured is rather resource intensive.

I happen to know a thing or two about Medical Operations in a theater of war, as my last military position was as an Army Medical Operations Officer with various units way back in ’03 and ’04. Suffice it to say it can be a bloody and surprisingly dangerous business. “Born to kill, trained to save” is one rather dark motto that comes to mind.

Lifeline and his comrades are definitely in the business of saving lives.  I came up with a list of a few questions I wanted Lifeline to ask Ukrainian combat medics to gauge the level of medical treatment the wounded might be receiving in the field.  Lifeline passed these on to a senior medic who, for the purposes of these articles, I’ll call “Papa.”

Through Lifeline and an interpreter, SOFREP interviewed this man who has endured the invasion of his homeland and 16 straight months of bloody war. What follows are his responses.

destroyed building
A Ukrainian medical facility destroyed by the Russians and then abandoned. Photo by Lifeline.

Papa Speaks

SOFREP: What are the most common injuries that you are seeing in the field?