Medics save lives and carry the mortars
IF you can't be saved by a medic in the field in Afghanistan - you weren't going to be saved. It's that simple, says Commando platoon commander Bram Connolly.
The veteran, who spent more than 20 years in the Australian Defence Force, deployed to the Middle East multiple times during his 15 years in the special forces.
He sat down with The Daily Telegraph for an extended chat during filming for the Voodoo Medics investigation.
Connolly says the medics - referred to by their call sign Kilo - working within Australia's Special Operations Command have an incredibly complex and contradictory role, but for him personally, the Kilo was a "trump card".
"You can't ask guys to get on to a helicopter at night on NVG (night vision goggles) and fly into a hostile village and get the s*** shot out of them if you can't guarantee them medical help," Connolly said.
"The medics, that's your trump card to tell the guys: 'Hey I will look after you'.
"Really what they represent for me is the guarantee that we're able to deal with any situation".
The Kilos are required to not only save the lives of their fellow soldiers, but patch up civilians and even the Taliban.
Connolly said it's "surreal" to see them in action on the battlefield.
"It's such a surreal thing to be in the middle of a contact, changing a magazine, and then looking over your shoulder and there's a medic putting a tourniquet on someone or putting a bandage on someone and he's standing up and everyone else is kneeling or on their guts," he said.
"It wasn't unusual for a kilo to carry a mortar.
"So you've got this guy whose job it is to save the lives of the men he's with, and at the same time he's carrying a weapon of destruction that we're going to use against the enemy".
Connolly discharged from the military in 2012 and soon after discovered his creative streak.
After being asked to help edit a friend's military book, he became a two-time author himself.
"I was in a cafe in Melbourne editing a chapter of his book and I looked around and thought 'I could get used to this'," he said.
"This is a different lifestyle from where I was in Afghanistan getting my a*** handed to me.