In a shockingly honest and almost surreal post on Reddit, Marine veteran Matt McElhinney detailed what exactly it felt like to be shot in combat. McElhinney was patrolling through Afghanistan in 2010 near a school when a Taliban bullet struck him just between his armor plate and Kevlar vest, ripping through his lower abdomen.
The post, submitted to Reddit on Wednesday evening, begins with McElhinney disclaiming that he "can't make you really understand the feeling in my body that day." Nevertheless, he goes on to recount the experience, saying at first the impact "feels like a sledge hammer hitting you in the back" and describing himself as a "mangled side of beef." Within 45 minutes of the shot, McElhinney was loaded onto a medevac helicopter:
"I could see the rage and tears in my brothers [sic] eyes as they wrestled for a spot on the litter to hold. I remember the agony of the pole less [sic] litter going to and fro from everyones [sic] non-synced gaits, and my hands dragging along the last jagged rocks I would ever touch in Afghanistan. They loaded me onto the helo and everyone tried to say their goodbyes. The air crew shoved most of them away but [fellow Marine] Wysinski got in next to my ear and said 'If you go at least you'll be with your mom, bud' and then the bird touched off." [Reddit]
McElhinney also describes the moment he realized he'd been shot, the unimaginable pain he felt, and the experience of watching his fellow Marines frantically tend to him. Read the full account, which he titled "Almost", here.