In 2004, Dr. Richard Jadick found himself in the midst of hell on earth. A urologist and Naval surgeon, Doc Jadick volunteered to head to the front with the 1/8 Marines (First Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment) and soon would be in the middle of one of the most famous battles in the War on Terror: the battle for Fallujah.
In his book, the national bestseller On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story by Commander Richard Jadick with Thomas Hayden, Dr. Jadick recounts his experiences and those of his beloved corpsman with the 1/8 Marines in haunting detail. As a former combat medic, I was intrigued to read this account as so little has been written about the heroes of the medical corps in the military. In the book’s prologue, Dr. Jadick remembers a conversation with the 1/8’s Command Master Chief on the validity of this book project. In describing the valor of corpsman, Chief Langholtz stated, “They don’t jump out of planes or blow shit up or even kill people. All they do is hump a pack with the Marines and save people’s lives. And that’s a story that deserves to be told.” I join Doc Jadick in his agreement that the heroics of these brave men and women of the Naval and Army Medical Corps need to be told and no one has done it better than Dr. Richard Jadick.
As the 1/8’s Battalion Surgeon, Doc Jadick not only headed a crew of incredible heroes, he became one himself as his gallantry saved the lives of countless Marines and Soldiers who fought so bravely that November in 2004.
Recounting one instance where a Force Recon corpsman had been shot in the chest resulting in a “sucking” chest wound. As Force Recon were typically far forward of the battle space doing reconnaissance for follow on forces, this wounded corpsman was outside of the pre-established CCPs (casualty collection points). Doc Jadick organized an extraction and instead of sending a corpsman, this battalion surgeon hopped in a Humvee and joined the extraction platoon to save this man’s life. Dr. Jadick stated, “[f]or one thing, a leader has to be willing to take the same risks he’s asking his men to take.” Nothing I have read more definitively describes the true quality of a leader than that statement and his actions during those eleven days put that statement into practice with valiant results.
As Dr. Jadick rode with his Marines, descending into the hell, he describes in great detail the madness that is modern combat. During the intense battle, Doc Jadick recounts the heroics of those incredible men we call Marines.
“As soon as Bravo Company entered the road, the enemy fire returned full force.” During this intense exchange, Sergeant Lonny Wells was shot in the crossfire and as others went to his aid, they too were seriously wounded. Doc Jadick recalls, “Doc Lambotte ran out to help, heeding the universal Marine Corps call of distress, Corpsman Up! But the bullets were still flying in, and Lambotte took a round in the heel. Gunny Shane was hit next, hit hard just above the tailbone and knocked down the road by the impact.”
The response was full and fierce as Doc Jadick states, “No Marine is going to stand by and watch his buddies get shot up without doing something. First and second platoons fired with everything they had, and [Bravo Company Commanding Officer] Omohundro managed to get some men into the cultural center and onto the roof where they laid down suppressing fire to the south”.
As more support vehicles came into the battle space including tanks, some cover was established which allowed for other Marines to help move the fallen men to some cover for treatment and evacuation. During this time, more Marines were wounded, including Sergeant Kenneth Hudson and PFC Samuel Crist. As the men were moved, wounded Doc Lambotte “ignored his own wound, scrambling to get the others patched and stabilized.”
“These were everyday Americans, and they were extraordinary.” This is the uncommon courage that was so very prevalent that day. His heroics and the extraordinary heroics of his corpsman and the Marines they served brought tears to my eyes.
What this book showcases is the unique love and dedication corpsman, medics and doctors have for the men to which they are bound. This dedication often continues long after the fight and with Doc Jadick, it absolutely did as he joined the Independence Fund in 2007 and is now the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The Independence Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering America’s wounded heroes as well as the caregivers that support their lives. “Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a better future.”
I spoke with Dr. Jadick on his continued service to our nation’s veterans through his work with the Fund. You’re looking out for the guy who’s walking point. You’re worried about these guys, not just physically, but mentally. They’ve done so much for us. I want to see them successful after they get out.”
The programs of the Independence Fund support not just the wounded veterans but also the caregivers that care for these men and women on a daily basis. “We work with families, the kids and the wives who are caring for these catastrophically wounded veterans and I’m not just talking about that veteran who’s lost two legs and an arm. I’m talking about the veteran who’s not able to go outside because they can’t go outside. Someone is taking care of those veterans and we provide them with the tools.”
On serving, Doc Jadick said, “It’s part of our DNA, it’s what we want to do. We serve, even though you’re not in the service anymore, it’s not that you stop. Sacrifice, service, humility, some really good life-long qualities have been taught to me through the military.”
Dr. Jadick was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his gallantry during the Battle of Fallujah and his work since those eleven days have proven he truly is a modern American legend, a true hero and this story, like Command Master Chief Langholtz said, is one that deserves to be told.
About the Author
Jaeson “Doc” Parsons, a Chicago native, served in the 3rd Platoon Bravo Company, 54th Engineer Battalion (Sapper) as a combat medic, earning the moniker “Doc” during his deployment to Ar Ramadi, Anbar Province, Iraq in 2006. In 2010 Doc, along with his partners, founded the Graffiti of War Project which focuses on showcasing art created by service members and local nationals in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. The project’s ultimate goal being to raise awareness for PTSD and promote alternative therapy solutions such as Arts Therapy. He’s currently a regularly featured writer for SOFREP.com.