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Helmand to the Himalayas : One Soldier's Inspirational Journey - David Wiseman

Helmand to the Himalayas

One Soldier's Inspirational Journey


Published: 18th November 2014
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RRP $19.99

Framed around the horrific massacre of five British troops at a police station in Helmand province in 2009, Green On Blue: Helmand to the Himalayas tells the inspirational story of Captain David Wiseman, the first soldier on the scene after the events who was subsequently shot, badly injured but found salvation on the slopes of Mount Everest as one of Prince Harry's Mountain Heroes.

This exhilarating memoir takes the reader on a gritty tour of Helmand Province with Captain Wiseman and his unit of infantrymen. Told with grit, he reveals what it was really like being one of the British Army's senior mentors to the Afghan National Army and recounts the horrors, humours and occasional absurdities of the conflict.

For the first time he tells the story of the events of November 3rd, 2009 when a rogue Afghan police officer hijacked a unit of British soldiers as they rested in a police compound after a patrol. The 'green-on-blue' massacre remains the single biggest loss of life for British soldiers in the Afghan conflict and led to questions about the UK policy of cooperation and mentoring within Afghanistan and the reliability of the Afghan Police Force. The horrific scenes Captain Wiseman witnessed that day were to stay with him and alter the course of his life. Just a few weeks later, suffering from the early signs of PTSD, he was shot while on patrol and sustained life-changing injuries. The bullet that almost killed him is still lodged in his chest.

The book tells the story of his recovery at Headley Court rehabilitation centre and the trauma of the PTSD which affected him following his tour of duty. With rare honesty, he tells of the hidden psychological injuries that remain after the physical wounds have healed. He recounts how frustration and chance led him to enlist to become one of an unlikely band of disabled ex-servicemen on a mission to climb Everest as part of the Walking With The Wounded charity.

Against the odds, Captain Wiseman, who had no experience in climbing and a nerve injury which left him susceptible to intense pain sparked by temperature changes, was chosen to be in the summit team.

With warmth and humour, the story details his training on some of the world's highest peaks and the friendships which were forged there. It exposes the crazy world of mountaineering, the parties on the peaks and culminates on the deadly slopes of the highest mountain in the world where Captain Wiseman discovers renewed purpose and pride.

A cracking military chronicle, a dynamic adventure story and an inspirational memoir; Blue On Green: Helmand to the Himalayas takes the reader on a breath-taking ride across the world and details one man's journey from naive rookie, to broken vet, to hero.

From "New Memoir Captures what Soldiers Never Say" by George Vlachonikolis (Posted on War on the Rocks, Sept 2014): It is a raw, heart-breaking and very emotive read. An unforgettable insight into his nightmarish experience. What I find really refreshing about Wiseman's accounts of the horrors of war is they're not loaded with an anti-Ministry of Defence agenda and nor are they being exploited for self publicity. This sets his book apart from many. Its honesty ends up highlighting several issues that can silently eat away at combat veterans. He should be commended. It is about war's hangover and what's left of you once you've left the battlefield.

The beginning - introduction to narrator, scene setting, joining the army, early career. Iraq - first active service, description of the conflict and his part in it, Green Zone, disappointment of seeing no action, humorous events with his unit Road to Afghanistan - being picked to lead a mentoring unit in Helmand. Prepping for service, family reaction and goodbyes, thoughts and feelings about leaving wife and child, arriving in Camp Bastion, details of the task Helmand - arriving in Nad e'Ali, forward operating base, introduction to unit and characters within in, explanation of the kit, meeting the ANA, life in the FOB and anecdotes, evacuating first casualties Shin Kalay - introduction to the combat line with Taliban, meeting the ANP, tensions with ANP, first meeting in police station, controversy of ANP custom of having young boys as slaves, commandeering a compound in Shin Kalay, first contact with Taliban Contact - anecdotes about daily firefights, introduction to local characters and customs, dog fights, coming across first IED, colleague looses a leg Police station - as per proposal Aftermath - behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. Incidents including taking risks with own safety when discovering an IED, fighting with an ANA officer and shooting at a motorcyclist at a checkpoint. Premonition about getting killed, killing the enemy, Taliban blow themselves up in a botched attack. Man down - getting shot and extraction from battlefield. Casevac - Camp Bastion medical centre, immediate treatment and life saving operation. In and out of consciousness. Dreams and hallucinations. Speaking to wife. Paralysis and assessment of injury, getting flown back to UK on nighttime 'ghost flight' with other injured servicemen. Recovery - Selly Oaks and Headley court. Characters in the units, coming to terms with injuries, meeting family and friends. Release - trying to adjust to life after injury, signs of PTSD, flashbacks begin, erratic behaviour, drinking issues, admitting to problems, introduced to Walking With The Wounded. Selection - being interviewed for WWTW, thoughts on Everest and mountaineering, introduction to some of the team, selection process, being chosen. Training - Alpine training and antcis, bonding with the team and developing characters, final selection and climbing 8th highest mountain in the world. Prepping for Everest, meeting Prince Harry, leaving for Himalayas. Kathmandu - arriving in the city, adjusting to the altitude and challenges, training climb, hike in to base camp. Base Camp -as per proposal Final ascent - the team make their attempt on the summit. Prologue - returning home a hero, meeting Harry again, getting help with PTSD, adjusting to life outside the army, getting a job with Prince William, finally being discharged.

ISBN: 9781472809131
ISBN-10: 1472809130
Series: General Military
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 18th November 2014
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.33