By Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret
Multi-National Division - Center
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – Even doctors need their medicine to remain healthy. For Capt. James Hart, the remedy is Steelers football.
"That's my 'keep-me-sane' medicine," said Hart, a physician assistant for Headquarters and Support Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division.
The black and gold octagon on his office door warns, "Danger Ahead. Stop. Steelers Country." A Terrible Towel lays flat and neat, taking up a third of his desk space. The July image on his calendar shows wide receiver Santonio Holmes cutting up field, both hands on the ball, tearing down yards.
Hart works in a Level-1 aid station on Camp Victory, where he treats Soldiers with a variety of ailments. Hart has been a physician assistant since October 2005, and calls the job self rewarding because he gets the chance to take care of other Soldiers.
"[The job is important] because it keeps our fighting strength up. I'm here to medically ensure our Soldiers can stay deployed and continue with the mission."
This is Hart's second deployment with the 10th Mtn. Div., In January 2006, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he had the opportunity to care for local citizens as well as fellow service members.
Hart works to keep the Soldiers strong, but he gets his fighting strength from the Black and Gold.
He reminisces of Super Bowl XL and his just-in-time arrival in Afghanistan for the kick-off. The Pittsburgh Steelers squeaked by the Seattle Seahawks to win the Lombardi Trophy.
"We were stoked," he said about being able to catch the game.
A group of 50 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen, each sporting a Terrible Towel, was stationed at the base where Hart landed. Together, they watched the game and took over all the best seats in front of the screens at the dining facility.
Hart's affections for the Steelers started when he was seven years old. He calls Washington, D.C., home, but picked the Steelers over the Dallas Cowboys watching Super Bowl XIII in 1979. His team beat his brother's team, and the fanaticism was born.
"Man I really like that team right there in black and gold," he remembers thinking. "I've been a die-hard fan ever since."
He really does mean die-hard. When the Steelers and the Cowboys met again in Super Bowl XXX in '96, Hart threw a chair through a window, punched holes through the wall, ripped up the carpet and tore a couch in half after the Steelers lost.
"I was that kind of upset," he said.
"Let's just say I was evicted from the apartment. It was a rough day," he added.
Rest assured, Hart has grown since those college days. "It just might be a grumpy day," at worst for any Steelers loss this season, he said.
As the National Football League season begins in September, Hart looks forward to the games that will provide some new excitement to his deployment. It doesn't matter to him that the games will play with a seven hour time difference. A night game that kicks off at 8 p.m. in the States won't start until 3 a.m. in Iraq.
"If you're a fan, you're a fan, and you're going to watch," he said.
This work, Physician looks forward to Steelers medicine, by MSG Michel Sauret, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.