15 August 2006

B36 News - 15 August 2006

I though I'd start off today's news with a picture that I took of myself on the Blackhawk that I rode back to the IZ. It's kinda spooky, but kinda cool. I recently met a Polish freelance photographer, Jordan Lewandowski, via email. His website, MJL Photography, showcases his work which I must say is impressive and was the final push I needed to start getting up early to take pictures of the sunrises. I'm nowhere near his level, but practice makes perfect.

On with the news!

Dig In...
Clearing Baghdad isn't going to be a quick operation, door-to-door searches never are and when you're doing it in a city of roughly 5 million you've got to take your time. Managing the public's expectations is a tricky task and is one that I'm very glad I don't have, but MG Caldwell knocks it out like a pro ... I guess because he is a pro. Anyway, in a culture of instant gratification people need to be reminded that winning takes time. If you take time away from us we won't be able to do our job properly.

KWAAPING!!!
When I was young..er, I loved to read Calvin & Hobbes comics. One particular strip that stuck in my head was Calvin pretending to be Superman where he jumps up on the arm of his dad's chair, sticks out his chest, and uses his finger to trace the path of an imaginary bullet as it bounces off his chest with a mighty KWAAPING!!! Well, the bullet that hit this Marine in the head wasn't imaginary.
Emerson and the rest of the patrol quickly moved to a nearby courtyard down the street to see who was wounded. The bullet had entered through layers of Kevlar helmet, scraped off a patch of Emerson's hair and skin, and then exited from the inside and back of the helmet.

Other Marines were checked but Emerson was the only one hit. As soon as a Navy corpsman said he could return to duty, Emerson said he was ready.

“When I found out I got shot I was pretty pissed off,” he said. “I tried to get up but then I got dizzy and had to sit down.”
No Greater Love...
This guy is a Solider. After a mine set his Bradley Fighting Vehicle on fire, PVT Eleazar Garcia, who had been inside, went to work rescuing his buddies who were still inside even though his pants were burning.
July 14th was the day hell paid Pvt. Eleazar Garcia, combat medic, a visit. While on patrol, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he and his squad mates were riding in hit an anti-tank mine.

The Bradley’s fuel line ruptured, hitting Garcia in the face and pouring fuel on his legs, which ignited. The Bradley filled with smoke rendering Garcia temporarily blind. Jumping out the hatch of the burning Bradley, Garcia’s said his head was ringing like church bells and his eyes were burning, but he knew what he must do.
(full story by PFC Paul Harris posted in comments)

5 Comments:

Blogger bandit.three.six said...

by Pfc. Paul J. Harris
3rd Heavy BCT, 4th ID PAO

MUQDADIYA, Iraq -- July 14th was the day hell paid Pvt. Eleazar Garcia, combat medic, a visit. While on patrol, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he and his squad mates were riding in hit an anti-tank mine.

The Bradley’s fuel line ruptured, hitting Garcia in the face and pouring fuel on his legs, which ignited. The Bradley filled with smoke rendering Garcia temporarily blind. Jumping out the hatch of the burning Bradley, Garcia’s said his head was ringing like church bells and his eyes were burning, but he knew what he must do.

“As soon as I got my vision back I saw my sergeant fall off the Bradley, he was in flames,” said Garcia, who is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment attached to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers.

“My pants were on fire, but I was like (expletive) my legs for right now,” Garcia said. “I went to help my sergeant get his Interceptor Body Armor off.”

Fortunately, the mine exploded near a canal and Garcia rushed to put his sergeant into its water. He then striped off his still burning pants before going back to the Bradley to help the others. Even though he too was burned, the most important thing to Garcia at the time was making sure all three of his squad mates were all right.

The two other Soldiers in the Bradley also suffered burns from the explosion and needed immediate medical attention. Garcia was able to move a second Soldier to the canal and extinguish his flames with water before the MEDVAC helicopter arrived.

As he was helping the third Soldiers, the Bradley’s ammunition was beginning overheat and explode. Garcia paid no attention to the rounds cooking off as he climbed the embankment to get to the third Soldier.

Garcia looks back at this moment and chuckles a bit because he was naked from the waist down, running to find his squad mate while dodging rounds from the burning Bradley.

During this time the MEDVAC had arrived and a still half-naked Garcia helped load all three patients into the helicopters before he himself was medically evacuated to Logistical Support Area Anaconda. At the LSAA he was treated for burns and smoke inhalation, and six hours later found himself on a flight to Germany.

Garcia said he was upset on the flight over because he was listed as a litter patient and unable to get up and go talk to his squad mates. Sadly, after arriving in Germany one of the Soldiers Garcia tried so hard to save, passed away.

With the loss of one Soldier and two others suffering, one with second and third degree burns over 60 percent of his body, Garcia found it difficult to visit his squad mates - to see them in so much pain. It was a constant reminder of the hellish day they spent together, he said.

Not wanting to stay in Germany, he gave everyone around and connected to him two choices.

“He told them in Germany either you send me to Brook Army Medical Center (in San Antonio, Texas) or to my squadron, because I do not want to stay here anymore,” said Garcia’s section leader and treatment NCO Staff Sgt. Robert Loring. After ten days in Germany, Garcia was sent back to his unit in Iraq.

“He came back ready to go,” Loring said. “He wants to go out on the line, but we’re holding him back. We almost lost him once, he has done his time.”

Garcia and the rest of 1-32 CAV are due to return to the U.S. soon. He said he’s looking forward to taking some time off to go back to his hometown of Harlingen, Texas to visit with friends, family and taking a trip to San Antonio to see his two squad mates who are now recovering at Brook Army Medical Center.

In the meantime, Garcia calls his parents frequently to let them know he is OK, and to tell them about the medal he received. Even now, he says when he calls home his mother worries and often scolds him.

“You better not be doing anything crazy! And I am like, chill out mom,” Garcia said.

For his actions on that day, Garcia was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor Aug. 1, during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Normandy near Muqdadiya, Iraq. The day of the ceremony Garcia had mixed emotions about receiving notoriety for his actions.

“I felt weird,” Garcia said. “I trying to help my guys, not get a medal.”

Though Garcia might have been uneasy at accepting a medal, others in the audience were proud for him including his first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Kevin Statam.

“He was hurt. He was wounded. And he put that to the side and went and helped his guys out,” Statam said. “In my eyes that makes him a hero.”

12:43  
Blogger The Griper said...

don't know why, bandit, but the pic of you in the blackhawk did not come up. just got a blank space.

and don't worry too much about your pics. you do a very good job in taking them. simplicity is the key to a good pic as far as i'm concerned. too many people try to get too much in their pics thus taking away the focal point of it.

22:25  
Blogger luckent47 said...

audie would be very proud!!
so much for the halon system..

00:01  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

I think that they shortchanged him on the metal. But that's just me, or is it. They are giving out Bronze Stars like candy to the officers, some who have never left the Green Zone.

Oh well, that's the new Army.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

06:12  
Blogger bandit.three.six said...

Papa Ray,
I couldn't agree with you more!

The difference between the Bronze Star that is handed out like candy and the Bronze Star that is awarded to those who deserve it is the Valor device. The rate that Bronze Stars is being handed out only serves to cheapen the award. However, if you see one with a "V" pinned to it you can be assured that the troop wearing it truly deserves it.

07:17  

Post a Comment

  

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home