Scribbled notes on surgical tape become new book about Iraqi War by PLU nurse
In the pre-dawn darkness, the exhausted medic looked at Ed Hrivnak ’96, and begged him to wait, just a little more, for helicopters carrying wounded out of a firefight near Baghdad in 2003. But the pilots of the C-141 was fidgeting. Dawn was approaching and the jet would make a prime target for Iraqi insurgents.
“We didn’t want to leave anyone,” Hrivnak reflected this summer, while meeting up at Pacific Lutheran University to talk about his new book: Wounded: A Legacy of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hrivnak was at the Garfield Book Store on Sept. 12 to sign and promote his work.
In the end, Hrivnak had to order the C-141 to take off, and leave wounded behind, so those already on board could be saved. Even though it was the right decision, he admits now, 10 years later, it still turns over like a well-worn stone in his mind.
“It was the right thing to do, but I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life,” he said.
The book chronicles Hrivnak during his time in the in Iraq, when Hrivnak was a captain and flight nurse in an Air Force medevac unit charged with caring for U.S. casualties. Hrivnak first started writing the book – although he had no idea his musings would end up