Frontline treatment: surgeon goes from Oxford to Afghanistan

#1
From The Times
December 27, 2008

Frontline treatment: surgeon Christopher Bulstrode goes from Oxford to Afghanistan

An Oxford professor tellsFrances Hubbard his cure for middle-age ennui: volunteer as an army medic in a Helmand field hospital
Professor Christopher Bulstrode is busy dismantling any notion of his heroic qualities. He insists that his last fantasy of derring-do evaporated in the heat of Afghanistan when what he thought were two suicide bombers landed spreadeagled at his feet.

Stunned by gunfire that had knocked the men - innocent and unhurt, as it transpired - from their moped at a roadblock, surrounded by soldiers half his age, he offers: “I told myself, ‘Bulstrode, you’re facing the wrong way. You haven’t got a clue what’s going on. You’re never going to be Bruce Willis’.”

Possibly so, but how many other 56-year-old consultant surgeons and, hitherto, committed pacifists would volunteer as an army medic to fight off middle-aged ennui? He now holds the record as the oldest man to have passed officer training at Sandhurst.

Professor Bulstrode served in the field hospital at Camp Bastion, the British base in Helmand province. He returned from Afghanistan in the spring after twice extending his tour of duty to nine months, but until now has preferred not to talk about his experience. “I was so blurred by what I’d seen and done and the process of adjustment back to civilian life that I needed time to assimilate it all.
More on the link
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5400667.ece
 
#2
Bloody good article. The guy has got some balls to do that at his age. It's very telling about the work done by the medics out there. Hats off to all off them.
 
#4
Very good story. Maybe if more people took his attitude!!!
 
#6
Code:
“I had told myself in the past, as someone who went on peace marches, that soldiers were stupid and unreasoning. In fact, I liked and admired many of the men and women I met. They’re a team of hugely loyal, talented, committed individuals who are passionate about their job.”
Says a lot about prejudice, does the fine prof. Until you've thrown yourself into someone else's existence you really cannot 'know' in the truest sense.

Tx for that article, quite made my morning.

Ennui? Are these nocturnal?
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
I went on Saif Sairi on 2001 with a 58 year old Orthopedic surgeon who had just joined. He has subsequently deployed. Indeed he deployed earlier this year (do the maths) on the same TELIC as Mrs BA. I don't hink he went to Sandhurst though.

Respect is due to both of them and all volunteers!
 
#9
Fantastic article, and bloody well done that man.

“I had told myself in the past, as someone who went on peace marches, that soldiers were stupid and unreasoning. In fact, I liked and admired many of the men and women I met. They’re a team of hugely loyal, talented, committed individuals who are passionate about their job.”
What else needs be said.
 
#10
Great to see that all of us can be useful. some obviously more than others. I hope to do a tour of the stan in the next couple of years, I think reading the article that if he can do it so will I
 
#11
Might sound like a bone question, but do you have to have high spec medical qualifications to work in the medical side, or do they need untrained labour as well, i.e. porters orderlies etc etc.?
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#12
heard_it_all_before said:
Might sound like a bone question, but do you have to have high spec medical qualifications to work in the medical side, or do they need untrained labour as well, i.e. porters orderlies etc etc.?
There are slots in the AMS TA for GD type people - but you would have to be in the normal age range. Why not call the recruiting people.
 
#13
BuggerAll said:
heard_it_all_before said:
Might sound like a bone question, but do you have to have high spec medical qualifications to work in the medical side, or do they need untrained labour as well, i.e. porters orderlies etc etc.?
There are slots in the AMS TA for GD type people - but you would have to be in the normal age range. Why not call the recruiting people.
Thank's for the quick reply. I'll shall pass it on to the individual concerened.
 
#14
Why does he deserve any more respect than any other TA soldier, many doing far more dangerous tasks, and frequently ridiculed on here and in the media.
 
#15
mark1234 said:
Why does he deserve any more respect than any other TA soldier, many doing far more dangerous tasks, and frequently ridiculed on here and in the media.
In the main by those who have not served in either Iraq or Afghan alongside their TA colleagues...

msr
 
#16
BuggerAll said:
I went on Saif Sairi on 2001 with a 58 year old Orthopedic surgeon who had just joined. He has subsequently deployed. Indeed he deployed earlier this year (do the maths) on the same TELIC as Mrs BA. I don't think he went to Sandhurst though.
If he joined as a Regular he would have done 4 weeks at Sandhurst on the Professionally Qualified Officers course along with the dentists, vicars, vets and nurses.
There were a couple of 50+ year old consultants on my wifes PQO cse who went in as Majors.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#17
No he is TA.
 
#18
There is a TA vicars and tarts course at RMAS as well.
 
#19
mark1234 said:
Why does he deserve any more respect than any other TA soldier, many doing far more dangerous tasks, and frequently ridiculed on here and in the media.
Well he joined up when he was old .Not just hung around till a war turned up like some of us has beens :D .Dont think I ever seen the ta ridiculed in the media .
Quite a few older blokes are joining the ta think our next recruiting slogan will be" ta cheaper than a sports car :D "
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#20
woody said:
mark1234 said:
Why does he deserve any more respect than any other TA soldier, many doing far more dangerous tasks, and frequently ridiculed on here and in the media.
Well he joined up when he was old .Not just hung around till a war turned up like some of us has beens :D .Dont think I ever seen the ta ridiculed in the media .
Quite a few older blokes are joining the ta think our next recruiting slogan will be" ta cheaper than a sports car :D "
'The Office' and our present Home Secretary thinks being in the TA is something to take the p1ss out of.

Foxy: I think this chap got a by for the V & T TA course but I could be wrong.
 

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