If you still think graphic novels are just for kids, check out this very serious novel, “The DOCS”. Designed by RTI International in collaboration with the Naval Health Research Center, this 200-page publication serves a critical population: active duty personnel deploying to war zones and their family and friends.
The story follows four fictional corpsmen as they deploy to Iraq with the Marine Corps and encounter insurgent attacks and roadside bombs, as well as deal with the emotional turmoil of treating the wounded and family issues at home.
Corpsmen Banks, Jackson, Mendez, and Wallace deal with insurgent attacks and roadside bombs, treat gravely wounded Marines, and wrestle with the emotional turmoil of leaving their families behind.
The Docs realistically portrays common concerns faced by our military personnel in war zones and serves as a discussion tool for lessening the stigma associated with combat/operational stress (COSC).
While the novel is set in Afghanistan, the encounters and lessons can be applied to any war zone. The story covers common sources of stress soldiers encounter before, during, and after deployment. But, while the story is easy to read, many of the scenarios are not easy to digest.
There’s the pain of a mother left behind to take on the responsibilities of her husband’s job and role as father.
Then there’s the soldier who disobeys orders because he can’t personally justify firing on a child.
You may be moved trying to understand the emotional pain of a medic knowing she can’t do anything to save a fallen colleague.
You may even gain a new empathy for the IED survivor who loses his leg and whose life is changed forever.
For anyone who has a direct or indirect tie to a warfighter, this novel is a must-read. It could even prove useful for those who support national defense efforts from the comfort of an office and may never get near a war zone.
You can read “The DOCS” online, download the PDF (32.5MB) from the Navy Medical website, or, if you’re a member of the U.S. military, order your free print copy.