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Wounded: A Legacy of Operation Iraqi Freedom Paperback – May 21, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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About the Author

Ed Hrivnak, RN, penned WOUNDED while caring for soldiers that were injured in Iraq. Portions of WOUNDED have appeared in the critically acclaimed anthology Operation Homecoming and the two-time Emmy winning film of the same name. The movie was nominated for several awards, including an Oscar for best documentary feature.

Part of his work is featured in the National Endowment of Humanities 2013 anthology Standing Down. This is a collection of significant works of military literature chosen to assist veterans with the transition to civilian life. The book comprises selections from literary giants that include Homer, Tolstoy, Lincoln, and Hemmingway.

Ed’s words have been published in the New Yorker, the Seattle Times, the Tacoma News Tribune, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and several international nursing journals. His war stories have aired on PBS, NPR, ABC World News, and numerous talk shows.

His writing was featured in theatrical presentations at Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, and the adaptation Soldier’s Circle was performed at the University of Louisville.

Hrivnak was an instructor flight nurse in the Air Force Reserve. He retired as a Captain after twenty years of service. A veteran of the first Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ed also participated in peacekeeping missions supporting Somalia, Rwanda, and the Balkans. Combining his military and civilian flying career, the author has logged over four thousand flight hours on twenty different types of aircraft. Much of his published work is based on treating casualties out of the Middle East.

Prior to retiring, Captain Hrivnak conducted research for the Assistant Surgeon General’s Office of the US Air Force on the stress of caring for combat casualties. He has lectured at colleges, trauma conferences, and to international audiences on this subject.

The writer is married to nurse practitioner and three-tour veteran Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Hrivnak. They live in the Pacific Northwest. The Hrivnaks have two children, John Dawson and Shae Marie. Ed enjoys his time off with family, skiing, and flying helicopters and antique airplanes. He continues to serve his country as a Firefighter and Volunteer Helicopter Rescue Pilot.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1482394979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1482394979
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I appreciated Hrivnak's approach to organizing the book. Each chapter begins with a date and a bief highlight of the top US news coverage of the war on the given date. I also liked the attention paid to the range of days, months, and years this book covers in Hrivnak's life but also in our decade long involvement in Iraq (and Afghanistan).

I had trouble with Hrivnak's character (ethos) at times in the book, until I realized that I am not the intended audience. Hrivnak seems to be writing to other military men, men who could empathize and find his masculine perspective unquestionably relatable.

I learned much about "what really happened" downrange, much more than I "learned" from news coverage and even more than I learned from the short-lived FX television seriers "Over there" and the HBO series "Generation Kill." I learned about the attitudes, approaches, and ways of the military--something I've seen emulated in others I work with, research, read about, etc. but through Hrivnak's writing, I understood that his approach to things was learned from his career in the military -- this helped me better understand some of the people I work with who are veterans. I am thankful for this and many other insights.

I especially appreciated Hrivnak's ethos (character) towards the end of the book, about "aftermath" onward. This version of Hrivnak was reflective, analytical, compassionate, and his gender didn't conflate his ego in quite the way it did in other parts of the book.

This is a quick and engaging read. There are lighthearted chapters and darker chapters giving the book a nice balance. Moreover, Hrivnak's story is remarkable. I am grateful he shared it with us all. It is a gift to our nation's history, it helps us better understand our military-service personnel and what they endured during Operation Iraqi Freedom as compared with the Gulf Wa
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Ed Hrivnak's book Wounded: A Legacy of Operation Iraqi Freedom was a detailed and accurate account of an aeromedical crew's deployment in the Iraq War. It was a good look into the end product of war that is not talked about much. I enjoyed reading this book; so much so I read it cover to cover in one sitting! As a veteran flight medic I highly recommend this book as it tells the true story of what we did in this war.
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Captain Hrivnak provides a sobering reminder of war's ugliness and pain, coupled with the dedication of thousands of our finest citizens who try to clean up the mess. The quiet professionals from all walks of life who serve our country must never be forgotten or taken for granted. Ed's well-written account chronicles the task of delivering the wounded to desperately needed medical treatment.
To Ed and Jennifer and all of the veterans; Thank You and Welcome Home.
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By ron_barnes on January 12, 2014
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This is a not often seen or thought of view of the war...from the medics viewpoint. Hard hitting and sometimes blunt, it is an unvarnished look at the aftermath of combat and the lingering affects it has on the casualties as well as those who care for them. A "must read" for those interested in the war in Iraq; great for any military history buff
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I thoroughly enjoyed the book, am buying a paperback copy to give to a friend who is a Retired Air Evac Crewmember. He does a good job covering his squadron Leaders unwillingness/inability to change with the times. This creates chaos when the initial deployment team arrives in Europe.

Those of us with multiple deployments know this is true, realistic training is a rarity for most units. He and his crew still get the job done. I especially enjoyed reading about his attempts at scrounging needed equipment, having done so myself.

Writing about the lack of situational awareness at the higher levels bring a knowing smile to those of us with multiple deployments. Managers pretending to be leaders.

My only complaint was his inability to grasp the bigger picture. His war was fought inside a C-141, but I don't know if he ever understood how he fit into the overall effort.

His frank discussion regarding PTSD is good. PTSD has only become acceptable in the last few years. Many Veterans avoided talking about their experiences because PTSD was viewed as a career ending diagnosis, RIV's honesty will encourage more vets to talk about their experiences.
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"Wounded" is well written and easy to read. The author's words present the aerovac mission and life afterward as a painting with intimate detail. The reader feels like a part of the story. This book is straight-forward and to the point, with just enough humor to keep you grounded. Highly recommend.
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Ed Hrivnak's Wounded paints a blunt view of the casualties of war, not only on those on the front lines but on the home front as well. He is kind enough to open up how the war affected his family life, being in a military-to-military marriage. This is a great read on how those injured in battle stay alive and make it home, thanks to the work of our medical flight crews.
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Capt Hrivnak provides a gritty perspective of Aeromedical Evacuation during the first few months of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Few would (and fewer should) refute the fact that the military medical system was unprepared for the combat casualties that resulted in these early days of conflict. Other accounts reflect the same difficulties--not only in the medical system, but in combat training, equipment, and logistics. And, seven years after his account, my own deployment experiences can attest to the fact that training and equipping military medics is still not perfect. Medicine is certainly not immune to the fog and friction of war.

I was, however, disappointed after reading this book. The focus is mainly on Capt Hrivnak's own personal frustrations and unhealthy coping strategies, and seems to suggest a continued dysfunction throughout the Aeromedical Evacuation System. There are many medics and nurses that have dedicated their blood, sweat, and tears over the last several years into improving medical evacuation system with many positive outcomes--including the lowest mortality rate in history. Their voices are not part of this book, nor are their efforts acknowledged. This account of a tumultuous 3-month deployment doesn't adequately capture the challenges and successes of the current Aeromedical Evacuation system--and someone could easily assume that nothing has changed over the past 10 years.

That said, I applaud Capt Hrivnak for his courage to confront his own demons and talk openly about both his experience and a difficult post-deployment transition. As an Air Force nurse, I know many fellow medics (including myself) that have struggled to process the terrible injuries we have seen and how best to move on with our own personal and professional lives after multiple deployments. Capt Hrivnak is a good example that it can be done well when someone is willing to invest the hard work to move forward and live life to the fullest.
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