Friday, July 31, 2009

My account of July 22, 2003

I guess you could say that the day started out like any other day. We were going on a convoy. A mission to trade some soldiers out from a boat mission and to restock some supplies. We did the normal things that any soldier would do before a convoy; briefing, packing, smoking, etc. Except this day felt different to me. See, I should really start the night before...

As I was cleaning my weapon, a 9mm, and talking to my then dear friend and new "boyfriend" Rob(who is now my husband) I asked him if he had ever wondered what it was like to be shot at. It was such a surreal question. I could almost feel the bullet coming at me as I inspected it before loading it into the clip. The thought passed and I finished my cleaning and packing. I still couldn't shake that weird feeling that something wasn't quite right.

The next day, after our convoy brief, we loaded up and headed out. I was riding in the back of a HMMWV(Humvee) with a few other soldiers. Jon was driving the cargo hemmit right behind me. As we exited the gate, I turned back to smile and wave at my friend behind me. Little did I know that was the last exchange I would have with him on that level.

The convoy was going just fine for a while. We were all looking out, making sure nothing looked out of place, when all of a sudden we noticed an orange(I can't quite remember the exact color, so I could be wrong here) Iraqi truck. It was trying to separate our convoy!

I had just lit a cigarette when I first heard, then felt the explosion behind me. I knew right away what had happened. An IED had exploded. I turned to see what exactly was wrong and saw that Jon's truck was coasting to the side of the road. We started to receive small arms fire from the hills next to the road. It was a perfect setup for an abush. We started firing back and soon we all got up to the "safety zone." I'm a little blurry on what exactly happened next as things seemed to be moving at an unnatural pace.

The next thing I knew our 1SGTs vehicle pulled up and we unloaded Brandon into my vehicle. Being the medic I started to asses his injuries and determined that he needed a tourniquet and an IV. Before we could really do much of anything on him the 1SGT was back and yelling at me to get in his vehicle. I didn't know what to expect, I just knew it was bad.

My first thought upon seeing Jon, was "Oh my God! My friend!" I got to work immediately and found he had no pulse and a brain injury that I could do nothing about. Still, he was my friend and I had to try. I performed CPR and tried to bring him back. He let his last breath of air out right there with his head in my hands. "Top"(that's what we called our 1SGT) yelled back "Is he gone?" I couldn't answer. How could I pronounce my friend dead? Top had to ask again and this time I had to answer. "Yes, there's nothing I can do." came out of my mouth.

Soon after we stopped so I could get back in with Brandon and help him. While I had been with Jon, a "combat lifesaver"(they are trained by medics to assist the medics in the field) had been trying to start an IV. I immediately got the tourniquet started as he was loosing a lot of blood. I knew he was going to loose his arm, but that was the last of my worries at the moment. I had to keep him alive.

We talked and talked after he was as stable as we could get him. I talked and prayed with him to keep him awake. We talked about how much he loved his girlfriend and about how God was going to bless him with a long and wonderful life. At one point we heard a helicopter and thought for sure it was the med evac. We found out later that it was a CNN chopper coming to film footage of the burning truck! Are you kidding me? The families haven't even been notified!

We finaly arried at our destination and took both Jon and Brandon to the medics there. My job
was done. I sat on the hood of the HMMWV for a long time, by myself. Dokken came and just sat next to me. I am forever greatful for him. That's exactly what I needed that day. Just a quiet shoulder to sit next to me as I quietly processed what had just happened.

After a while we suited up and headed back to our original camp. That was one nerve wracking drive. I traded out my 9mm for a 203, much safer for me.

I remember nothing else upon arriving other than seeing my dear sweet Rob and just holding onto him for dear life. I was so scared and scarred, I had no idea what to do.

The next few days were a blur. We put Jon's body on a plane and sent him back to be buried. Rob and I had some late nights trying to keep my panic attacks at bay. In the end I clung to my Bible.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaacccckkkk!

LOL. No, I haven't abandoned my blog. We moved! We are now back in the Dakotas! South Dakota to be exact! I'm so happy to be back here.

Lots has happened in the past two months. My boys, lightening and thunder both had birthdays! I can't believe they are growing so fast. We are going to start homeschool this year! I'm so excited.

The story about the moving company is a whole post within itself. I may delve further into that at a later date. For now I need to get to bed. I have an early morning tomorow.

Goodnight for now. I'll be back tomorow to update you a bit better.