U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeon
LISTEN TO CAPT. BIRD'S DIARY
APRIL 25, 2003 · Some troops in or near Iraq say right now their biggest enemy is boredom. In the recent relative calm, some service personnel say they spend a lot of time wondering why they're still there. Capt. Nicholas Bird is a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, based in the Persian Gulf. He's not in Iraq, but he could be going there soon... or maybe home. He doesn't know. There are few patients to see these days at his field hospital. So Bird spends most of his time napping, watching movies, and re-reading The Lord of the Rings. That doesn't sound like a bad life. The problem, Bird says, is that he has no idea when it will end. This is his NPR War Diary entry.
But that kind of uncertainty definitely breeds some psychological instability. People act out, people get more angry more easily. A guy down the hall... does one little thing and that sets us off. Fortunately, the access to alcohol is extremely limited here, but if it were not, people would be doing all kinds of awful things to themselves and to others. There's already been elements of that, which I can't go into. But this is something that certainly I will and others will recover from without incident, other than having some interesting stories and perhaps take a certain added relish in a fine meal and a soft bed.
Copyright 2003 NPR