John Bennett/Amazon

In May 1968, John Bennett woke up in an unfamiliar place.

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U.S. Army/Spc. Loren Keely

With tensions between the U.S. government and North Korea at a historic high, the Department of Defense spent 2017 deterring an armed confrontation with Kim Jong Un’s regime on the Korean peninsula. The Pentagon deployed three carrier strike groups to the Western Pacific for the first time in a decade; stood up THAAD missile defense batteries in South Korea; and deployed squadrons of F-22 and F-35 fighter jets to patrol the skies near Pyongyang. All the stakeholders know that, even with overwhelming U.S. might and decades of wargaming, an invasion involving the 28,500 U.S. troops currently stationed in South Korea could bring massive casualties for military personnel and civilians, including an estimated 20,000 South Korean deaths a day from North Korean artillery.

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Army photo

In May 1969, Spc. James McCloughan survived a 48-hour massacre — and never stopped fighting to save 10 members of his unit.

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Photo by Harry Sanna

When people find out that I used to be an Army combat medic, they tend to say something like, “So if I get hurt you can fix me, right?” And my response, usually delivered with a touch of dark humor, is always something to the effect of, “No fucking way.”

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Medics and corpsmen are generally one of two distinct personality types: guys who think they’re god’s gift to the military, or weirdos with a morbid streak. But no matter how much of an oddball Doc is, his role as platoon caretaker demands an occasional reminder that, yes, he is loved and appreciated. Lest we forget, here are five undisputable reasons why you need to stop what you’re doing right now and embrace the one who might one day save your life.

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