A surgeon from the College Station Medical Center who has been saving lives for more than 30 years decided to serve our country in the military, later in life; and as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve, he was called to save lives behind enemy lines.
“As a general surgeon, trauma is what we do,” said Dr. Henry “Hank” Bohne.
When it comes to trauma, Dr. Henry Bohne says surgery knows no boundaries.
“Just from the comments that I've had, people think it's over,” he added. “They think there's nothing going on.”
Bohne says that’s not the case, in fact, adding, it’s far from over. The war in Afghanistan had the U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel taking a few months of leave from the College Station Medical Center. In April, he was deployed to Afghanistan.
“Anything from minor shrapnel injuries to major amputation,” Bohne explained.
Performing trauma surgery in a makeshift tent in the middle of a warzone, ironically, he says, brought feelings of nostalgia.
“It was more like the old fashioned surgery, there's no laparoscopy, no cat scans, no fancy X-rays,” said Bohne. “We would all respond, evaluate them and operate on them if they needed to be and because we were a forward unit, we didn't have a holding capability, so we'd package them up and send them onto the next level of care.”
The fancy tools didn't matter; his tools were knowledge and wisdom; and of course his Aggie Spirit.
“They had their Longhorn flag, so of course, I had to bring my Aggie Flag,” said Bohne.
In his three decades of surgery, Bohne says with every good day comes a bad day.
"I had three days in a row where I had to sign death certificates on kids who came in dead. That's tough. One kid was scheduled to go home the day before, but didn't make the flight," he added. "It's so tough because you know 12 hours later their loved ones and their family are going to get that knock on the door. That's a knock no one wants to get."
What would become his second tour overseas ended in late July. He was home for just one week when he learned his surgical base was bombed. He says the enemy detonated a vehicle born IED near his surgical base, consequently destroying it.
"Nobody from my base was killed, a few were wounded," he lamented. “I'm so proud of those guys; I got a message later on that day and it said FST [forward surgical team] is gone, we move to another building, we are back to work; same day. No moaning. No whining, just get the job done.”
For now, he's back to Dr. Bohne; but with a few more stories and memories from the war zone.
Dr. Bohne's first tour took him to Iraq. He has several more years left in the Army Reserve, and says he's ready for his next call of duty.
Bohne is a father of four. He has two sons; one is a U.S. Marine; the other, U.S. Army.