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The Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, the largest base in California established as a Marine Corps Base, has nine operating rooms, staffed by operating room technicians, civilian registered nurses, and Navy Corps Nurses. Every nursein the Unites States Marine Corps is a Commissioned Navy Officer

The OR schedule had gotten worse after lunch when an emergency appendectomy on an officer’s son came in, postponing three scheduled elective surgeries. Nurse manager, Captain Mary Hail, came into the lounge, looking for Registered Nurse Bridget Benoit, who was finishing her lunch break.

“Benoit, General Elgrim requested you to circulate for his son’s surgery in room eight.”

General Elgrim was the CEO of the hospital of Camp Pendleton. If he wanted a certain nurse to care for his son during surgery, waters would part to make it happen.

“Why me? You’d think he’d want nurses who do general surgery all the time.”

“Who knows? The patient’s en route from the ER so you have time. Oh, come see me before you relieve the nurse in that room.”

“What’s up?” Bridget asked.

“We’ll talk in there,” she said, pointing over her shoulder in the general direction of her office.

Gathering her trash, Bridget felt a combination of annoyance and a little pride; she liked her regular assignment, working with the same orthopedic surgeons daily. Having to go into another room with the general surgeons was a disruption. But a General had requested that she take care of his son and that made her feel good.

On the way to Mary’s office to see what she wanted to talk to her about, a hot flash of epic proportions crashed over her body; General Elgrim wasAlexElgrim. She’d recently had a brief fling with him, not realizing his rank until after they’d done the deed.Ugh.And he’d been after her for more.

“Come in,” Mary said when Bridget came to the door

“Why so formal?” They’d gone out drinking together the previous weekend. “Am I in trouble for something?”

Chuckling, Mary shook her head. “Sit. You might hate me after this.”

“Oh hell, what now?”

“You got orders, Bridget.”

“No. I like it here, remember? I’m not going anywhere,” Bridget said, thinking Mary was teasing her.

“You’re being deployed next month, 1stMarine Logistic Group, Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon Combat Hospital, Kabul.”


The women looked at each other, shocked. Mary handed Bridget the orders. “I took it down off the board before anyone else saw it,” she said. “Why they insist on public posting of orders pisses me off. You and Connie Frederick are going from our group. I’m so sorry.”

“I thought volunteers took care of the Middle East staffing,” Bridget said, numb. “I haven’t heard of anyone being deployed in over a year. I thought it was winding down.”

“They’re short nurses over there. I thought our unit would be safe because we’re so busy here.”

“What do I do now?” Bridget asked, stunned.

“Finish out the day and you’re on leave starting tomorrow. Go home and relax. See your family. When you’re finished with your tour, I’ll request that you come back here if that’s what you want.”

“I can’t even think! Of course, I want to come back here. I love it here.”

She stood up and brushed imaginary dust off her scrub pants. “By the way, I just remembered I screwed Alex Elgrim last month.”

“Well, it must have been fantastic, because he trusts you with his son.”

The women laughed and high-fived.

The case with the General’s son proceeded well and afterward, Bridget returned to her original assignment. She said goodbye to her colleagues as they waited for the last patient of the day to wake up. It had been a while since a nurse deployed from their unit to the Middle East and everyone was just as shocked as she was.

“We don’t even get to have a going away party?”

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