The Adventures of an Air Force Medic


Fiction - Historical - Personage
416 Pages
Reviewed on 06/14/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic by Dave Ives is a fictional account of a critical period in the life of Sean Mitchell, a young man looking for his future in uncertain waters during the early 1980s. Being a man of exceptional motivation, Sean throws his hat into the ring and enlists in the Air Force, entering via the fast-tracked open general category, which placed his immediate future in the hands of others. When assigned as an entry-level Medic at Mather Air Force Base, Sean knows he has to do whatever he can to move into a different field; somewhere removed from the bedpan perception carried by his current predicament. This is the story of Sean’s time at Mather, where he proves to himself and those he works with that he not only excels at what he does but he also comes to terms with the culture and essence of a Medical Unit, gaining unexpected respect for the service to which he belongs.

Dave Ives’ The Adventures of an Air Force Medic is an easy to read chronicle told in a laid-back style, that lets you get right into the Medical Unit with Sean and share his experiences as they unfold. I found many interesting subplots within, which at times provided a stark glimpse of the incredible diversity of emotions in play when dealing with patients, relationships, dormitory life, and the pressures of life or death situations, which came along all too frequently. The characters were all unique and evoked levels of empathy that mirrored their personalities. I found the relationship between Sean and Arlene particularly interesting and was quite surprised by the outcome. All told, this is an interesting and endearing exploration of the human condition, viewed at its best in an adverse environment dictated by its very nature.

Rabia Tanveer

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic by Dave Ives is the story of a man who dreamed of flying high, but his future was set firmly on the ground. Sean Mitchell dreamed big and had the drive to make it come true. He wanted to join the air force and become a pilot, but things were not working in his favor. Sean was hoping to go on daring rescue missions and fly thousands of miles up in the sky but he becomes a bedpan commando. Being an army medic is not easy; he has to face situations he never thought he would have to prepare for. Six weeks of training is not enough to “serve” his country. But life in a military hospital is never dull. He has access to second-hand action, thrill, tragedy, and high-octane fear. Can he handle the heat or will he look for a way out?

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic was a fun roller coaster ride. There are highs and lows, but all of them are perfectly in sync with the protagonist’s growth. At the start of the novel, Sean was struggling to come to terms with his new position as a medic, but as the story progressed, he had respect for his adopted profession. And with that acceptance came growth. The pace is just fast enough to keep the story going and not rob the reader of Sean’s progress. You will see him develop from an angry man who is begrudgingly accepting of his fate to fighting for what he believes is best for him. In the meantime, Dave Ives shares the ins and outs of a medic's life. I appreciated how the author lets us see different sides of Sean while also giving opportunities to see what happens inside an Army hospital. We see Sean as a professional and a man who is trying not to fail at love. The addition of dry humor made it even more entertaining for me. Sean was sarcastic at times and retrospective as well. This is a well put together story and an engrossing must-read for everyone!

Asher Syed

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic by Dave Ives is the fictional account of a young and newly enlisted Air Force recruit who finds himself on a military career path that is far less exciting than he'd hoped for or imagined. Based on the author's real-life experience, the main character Sean Mitchell is assigned to a small California military hospital following his basic training and a rapid introduction to the field of medicine—not exactly the fieldwork he wanted. As Sean begins to fall comfortably into the role, the technical aspects of the work begin to feel natural even when the encounters he has are anything but. Narrated in the first person and written in a series of chapters and scenes that read as connecting vignettes, Sean gives glimpses of the job he has and the people and patients he works with as he waits to be transferred to the role he really wants...the role that everyone tells him, "You’re wasting your time. It’s a pipe dream. It’ll never happen.”

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic offers an interesting vantage point of both the era and the military operations from inside a small hospital. Dave Ives writes simply with an open and honest narrative, and while it doesn't have the sophistication that readers of the genre may be accustomed to, it does come across as authentic. Ives stays true to the time even when by contemporary standards the treatment of some patients is contemptible. An example of this is with a patient who is admitted for pain; a woman the staff knows to be addicted to pain medication. She is essentially fobbed off with acetaminophen and no assistance whatsoever with the inevitable withdrawals and an alternative treatment plan to help with the addiction. It is moments such as these that offer the best view of what Ives was up against in an era when there was a shocking lack of sensitivity and medics like Sean had to make do with what they had. The book, overall, is an interesting read that will probably find a welcoming audience with others in the field.