07. August 2005 · Comments Off on EMail From Soldier Niece · Categories: GWOT, Iraq, Memoir

This is an email I received from Soldier Niece today. Unedited except for a couple of typos. Used with her permission.

Photo via AP.

Dear Family,

Let me start out with I had one hell of a day yesterday. I’ll also say that myself and everyone else are just fine. I didn’t know how soon I should tell you, but I didn’t want anyone to worry.

Yesterday our convoy was hit by a vehicle born IED (suicide bomber). We had a large convoy of 10 vehicles that left at around 6am. This was after the raids earlier that morning. Our mission was to go door to door in the neighborhood gathering info as to what they think of coalition forces, insurgency, etc. This neighborhood has just a “few bad guys”! Yeah, right! We made the first couple stops and found the people really eager to talk to us, which is rare in these parts. To give you a little history, this neighborhood is consistently disturbed by IEDs and other attacks on near by main routes. All of was good up to this point.

As we made our third stop for the morning, we set up security along a IED hot spot, a main MSR (nasty road). We conducted our meet and greets, only to continue to get good information. There of course were some extremely bad people in the neighborhood, that’s all I can say. We had been at this particular spot for what was going on 45 minutes, too long. There was a discussion on the next course of action, things I cannot mention but I was called to the front in case of an emergency. We got the “go ahead” and the group moved out on foot to conduct it’s next mission. Not even 30 seconds later a vehicle veered off the road at about 60 mph straight for the vehicle I was standing next to. He got about 5m off the road and about 10-15m from my vehicle and detonated. Myself and another female from my company were standing on the drivers side of the HMV he was headed for. The gunner in the vehicle in front of us saw the man but only had time to turn his rifle to fire, never got a shot off.

After the blast, I was immediately disoriented, I don’t think I heard anything for about 20 seconds. We headed for the front of the truck for cover and pointed our rifles in the direction of the blast. I immediately started my Medical duties checking on all the personnel in my immediate area. The gunner of the vehicle was amazingly ok. I continued to relay the word back to check on all personnel. Then I heard the dreaded word “MEDIC”! This is something no medic really wants to hear. Near the vehicle in front of the one I was standing at a civilian woman was injured.

Myself and the other medic proceeded to assess the casualty who had large lacerations on her lower legs (gaping wounds). She had two tib/fib fractures one of which was protruding from her leg. She had multiple shrapnel wounds on her legs and upper body. We got the word there was another UXO (un-exploded ordinance) in the whole where the blast was, we then moved the female to the nearest house. After dressing her legs, the other medic left me with the woman (cultural reasons). For a short period I was in the house by myself with an interpreture as well as 10-15 Iraqis. By the time I got additional security the crowd in the room was growing larger and as I was treating her a fight broke out. I was a little upset and continued to take action. The woman was stabilized as much as possible and the Iraqi police escorted her to a near by hospital.

I finally made it back outside, looked over a few more people and got the word they were blowing the UXO. This blast was somewhat smaller than the first, but was controlled. Shaken with a massive adrenaline rush, I finally got a chance to just sit down. Some of the crazy, ironic details of the incident finally started to sort through my mind. One, I was away from my vehicle standing ready with my medic bag right by the blast. I had placed my medic bag at my feet because it adds a lot of weight on top of body armor, ammo, and weapons. My bag saved my legs…

When we were first dressing the injuries of the woman I pulled out a bag of kurlex (gause) and found it ripped open with a piece of shrapnel. I also found Betadine solution covering the inside of my bag. After I got a chance to breath, I looked down at my bag to find a quarter size hole in the front, and two holes in the side. The shrapnel had got through the front three layers of my bag, hitting a bottle of Betadine, going through a large syringe, through the next compartment and into the Kerlex. This would have been my leg.

In all the damage was this… 4 Iraqi civilians injured, only one major. No US personnel injured other than small shrapnel wounds. The gunner in the vehicle in front of mine had three tiny pieces in his lip and check. Two vehicles were damaged, one is totaled. I made sure to thank God for keeping us safe.

Everyone involved in the incident will receive the new Combat Action Badge. Myself and the other medic will receive the Combat Medic Badge. One thing I’ve always wanted, but didn’t want to do the work to get it.

I just wanted to reassure that everything is ok here, but wanted to share this with you all. Thanks for all the support you’ve all given me, I really appreciate it.

Thanks and God Bless,

Soldier Niece

Damn straight I’m proud of her. Now excuse me while I have a good cry because a little girl I once knew had to grow up too fucking fast in one day.

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