The Unforgiving60

The Unforgiving60


Two ex-special operations guys armed with MBAs seek out people leading lives less ordinary, in order to find out how they fill their ‘unforgiving minutes’, and what helps them go, always, a little further. Like intellectual bowerbirds, we collect shiny little objects of knowledge that will help build better humans. Co-hosted by Ben Pronk and Tim Curtis.

McQuilty ‘Coco’ Quirke has died three times and also been awarded the Nursing Service Cross. In this incredible interview Ben and Tim talk to a career Army medic whose life is anything but ordinary.

Coco talks about the incident where he was awarded the NSC, and life beyond into the operational theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan. It was in Afghanistan where Coco found himself blown up by a roadside bomb. After all the medic was not the one who was supposed to get hurt. In the attack, Coco suffered two shattered vertebrae, a shattered left femur, a broken left foot, broken right ankle, broken right leg below knee, a shattered left elbow, a dislocation and fracture of his right hand and traumatic brain injury. He turned 31 two days after the incident and was told he would never run again.

It was a long journey back ….. to where now Coco continues to serve (and does actually run). His selfless sense of service has now expanded to being an Ambassador for the charity Swiss8.

Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

08:30 Coco describes the event where he was awarded the Nursing Service Cross.

19:05 Ben talks about the Nursing Service Cross.

20:05 Going slower motion on the day of the incident…. On leadership when you don’t hold the highest rank.

25:00 A leader with no eyes …. Coco talks about leading using a radio.

28:10 Using a diary and the importance of taking notes.

33:50 Other times where Coco felt pressure- talking about a tragic and high-pressure situation in Afghanistan.

41:00 The incident where Coco found himself on the other side of receiving treatment in Afghanistan.

48:00 Combat first aiders start to work on Coco’s traumatic injuries. And then Coco shows nil signs of life.

51:40 5 hours of immediate surgery. And receiving kisses on the cheek…. then evacuated to Germany.

55:40 Waking up in Germany.

57:20 32 surgical procedures and it was the best day of his life!?

1:00:00 What Coco got out of that day?

1:02:10 Three parts to resilience in the eyes of Coco. Not one single foundation.

1:08:06 The world is small- about Swiss 8. Coco’s role as an Ambassador.

External Links

Coco’s profile on LinkedIn here

Swiss8 is a health promotion charity founded by veterans:


Mitchell Martin’s – ’Hold On’ –available on Spotify . With continued thanks to Mitchell for the use of his music.

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