Showing 236 posts tagged IED

USMC Lance Corporal Caleb L. Erickson. 28 FEB 2014.

Died in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations. Erickson was assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Unbreakable.
Cpl. Matt Garst is unbreakable. The squad leader from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, stood on his own free will immediately after triggering an anti-personnel, improvised explosive device directly beneath his feet, which sent him tumbling six feet up and 15 feet through the air before landing on his limp head and shoulders during a patrol to the east of his company’s newly established observation post in Southern Shorsurak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation New Dawn, June 23. Thanks to luck, Garst’s tenacity, and mistakes by the enemy, the IED comprised of three liters of homemade explosive only partially detonated and Garst absorbed the blast unharmed, hold for feeling “like hell” the next day. Garst, from Charlotte, N.C., led his Marines the four miles back to their post after the blast. Following a day of recovery, he began patrolling efforts again. “I’m an aggressive person,” Garst said. “It pissed me off. All I want to do is make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m just happy it wasn’t any of my guys. I’m not happy to get blown up by any means. I would have loved for it to have never happened. But, if it’s going to be anyone I’d rather it be me, and if it’s going to be a bomb, I’d rather it be that bomb, because it didn’t do shit.” Operation New Dawn is a joint operation between Marine Corps units and the Afghanistan National Army to disrupt enemy forces, which have been using the sparsely populated region between Marjah and Nawa as a safe haven.
(Photo and article by Sergeant Mark Fayloga, 23 JUN 2010.)
SOUTHERN SHORSURAK, Afghanistan — Cpl. Matt Garst should be dead.Few people survive stepping on an improvised explosive device. Even fewer walk away the same day after directly absorbing the force of the blast, but Garst did just that.A squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Garst was leading his squad on a patrol in Southern Shorsurak, Afghanistan, June 23 to establish a vehicle checkpoint in support of Operation New Dawn. The men were four miles from Lima Company’s newly established observation post when they approached an abandoned compound close to where they needed to set up their checkpoint. It would serve well as an operating base — a place for the squad to set up communications and rotate Marines in and out of. But first, it had to be secured.As they swept the area with a metal detector, the IED registered no warning on the device. The bomb was buried too deep and its metallic signature too weak. Two men walked over it without it detonating. At six feet, two inches tall and 260 pounds with all his gear on, Garst is easily the largest man in his squad by 30 or 40 pounds — just enough extra weight to trigger the IED buried deep in hard-packed soil.Lance Cpl. Edgar Jones, a combat engineer with the squad, found a pressure plate inside the compound and hollered to Garst, asking what he should do with it. Garst turned around to answer the Marine and stepped on the bomb. “I can just barely remember the boom,” Garst said. “I remember the start of a loud noise and then I blacked out.”Since Garst’s improbable run-in with the IED, his tale has spread through the rest of the battalion, and as often happens in combat units, the story mutates, the tale becoming more and more extraordinary about what happened next: He held onto his rifle the whole time … He actually landed on his feet … He remained unmoved, absorbing the impact like he was muffling a fart in a crowded elevator …What really happened even eludes Garst. All went black after the earth uppercut him. When he came to, he was standing on his feet holding his weapon, turning to see the remnants of the blast and wondering why his squad had a look on their faces as if they’d seen a ghost.Marines in Lima Company think Garst is the luckiest guy in the battalion, and while that may seem a fair assessment, it was the enemy’s shoddy work that left Garst standing. The three-liters of homemade explosive only partially detonated.Marines who witnessed the event from inside the compound caught glimpses of Garst’s feet flailing through the air just above the other side of the building’s eight-foot walls. The explosion knocked him at least fifteen feet away where he landed on his limp head and shoulders before immediately standing back up.Not quite sure of what had just happened, Garst turned back toward the blast, now nothing but a column of dirt and smoke rising toward the sun.“My first thought was, ‘Oh s—-, I just hit an IED,’” he said. “Then I thought, ‘Well I’m standing. That’s good.’”Garst’s squad stared at him in disbelief. The square-jawed Marine has a tendency to be short-tempered, and the realization that the blast was meant to kill him spiked his adrenaline and anger.“It pissed me off,” he said.He directed his men to establish a security perimeter while letting them know in his own way that he was OK.“What the f—- are you looking at?” he said. “Get on the cordon!”Garst quickly radioed back to base, calling an explosive ordnance disposal team and quick reaction force.“I called them and said, ‘hey, I just got blown up. Get ready,’” he said. “The guy thought I was joking at first. ‘You got blown up? You’re not calling me. Get out of here.’”Once EOD cleared the area, Garst led his squad the four miles back to their observation post — just hours after being ragdolled by an IED blast.“I wasn’t going to let anybody else take my squad back after they’d been there for me,” he said. “That’s my job.”The next day Garst awoke with a pounding headache and was as sore as he’d ever been in his life.“Just getting up from trying to sleep was painful,” he said.But he saw no reason being sore should slow him down. He popped some ibuprofen and after a day of rest, Garst was back out on patrol, showing his Marines and the enemy that just like his resolve — Garst is unbreakable. High-res

Unbreakable.

Cpl. Matt Garst is unbreakable. The squad leader from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, stood on his own free will immediately after triggering an anti-personnel, improvised explosive device directly beneath his feet, which sent him tumbling six feet up and 15 feet through the air before landing on his limp head and shoulders during a patrol to the east of his company’s newly established observation post in Southern Shorsurak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation New Dawn, June 23. Thanks to luck, Garst’s tenacity, and mistakes by the enemy, the IED comprised of three liters of homemade explosive only partially detonated and Garst absorbed the blast unharmed, hold for feeling “like hell” the next day. Garst, from Charlotte, N.C., led his Marines the four miles back to their post after the blast. Following a day of recovery, he began patrolling efforts again. “I’m an aggressive person,” Garst said. “It pissed me off. All I want to do is make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m just happy it wasn’t any of my guys. I’m not happy to get blown up by any means. I would have loved for it to have never happened. But, if it’s going to be anyone I’d rather it be me, and if it’s going to be a bomb, I’d rather it be that bomb, because it didn’t do shit.” Operation New Dawn is a joint operation between Marine Corps units and the Afghanistan National Army to disrupt enemy forces, which have been using the sparsely populated region between Marjah and Nawa as a safe haven.

(Photo and article by Sergeant Mark Fayloga, 23 JUN 2010.)

SOUTHERN SHORSURAK, Afghanistan — Cpl. Matt Garst should be dead.

Few people survive stepping on an improvised explosive device. Even fewer walk away the same day after directly absorbing the force of the blast, but Garst did just that.

A squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Garst was leading his squad on a patrol in Southern Shorsurak, Afghanistan, June 23 to establish a vehicle checkpoint in support of Operation New Dawn. 

The men were four miles from Lima Company’s newly established observation post when they approached an abandoned compound close to where they needed to set up their checkpoint. It would serve well as an operating base — a place for the squad to set up communications and rotate Marines in and out of. But first, it had to be secured.

As they swept the area with a metal detector, the IED registered no warning on the device. The bomb was buried too deep and its metallic signature too weak. Two men walked over it without it detonating. 

At six feet, two inches tall and 260 pounds with all his gear on, Garst is easily the largest man in his squad by 30 or 40 pounds — just enough extra weight to trigger the IED buried deep in hard-packed soil.

Lance Cpl. Edgar Jones, a combat engineer with the squad, found a pressure plate inside the compound and hollered to Garst, asking what he should do with it. Garst turned around to answer the Marine and stepped on the bomb. 

“I can just barely remember the boom,” Garst said. “I remember the start of a loud noise and then I blacked out.”

Since Garst’s improbable run-in with the IED, his tale has spread through the rest of the battalion, and as often happens in combat units, the story mutates, the tale becoming more and more extraordinary about what happened next: He held onto his rifle the whole time … He actually landed on his feet … He remained unmoved, absorbing the impact like he was muffling a fart in a crowded elevator …

What really happened even eludes Garst. All went black after the earth uppercut him. When he came to, he was standing on his feet holding his weapon, turning to see the remnants of the blast and wondering why his squad had a look on their faces as if they’d seen a ghost.

Marines in Lima Company think Garst is the luckiest guy in the battalion, and while that may seem a fair assessment, it was the enemy’s shoddy work that left Garst standing. The three-liters of homemade explosive only partially detonated.

Marines who witnessed the event from inside the compound caught glimpses of Garst’s feet flailing through the air just above the other side of the building’s eight-foot walls. The explosion knocked him at least fifteen feet away where he landed on his limp head and shoulders before immediately standing back up.

Not quite sure of what had just happened, Garst turned back toward the blast, now nothing but a column of dirt and smoke rising toward the sun.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh s—-, I just hit an IED,’” he said. “Then I thought, ‘Well I’m standing. That’s good.’”

Garst’s squad stared at him in disbelief. The square-jawed Marine has a tendency to be short-tempered, and the realization that the blast was meant to kill him spiked his adrenaline and anger.

“It pissed me off,” he said.

He directed his men to establish a security perimeter while letting them know in his own way that he was OK.

“What the f—- are you looking at?” he said. “Get on the cordon!”

Garst quickly radioed back to base, calling an explosive ordnance disposal team and quick reaction force.

“I called them and said, ‘hey, I just got blown up. Get ready,’” he said. “The guy thought I was joking at first. ‘You got blown up? You’re not calling me. Get out of here.’”

Once EOD cleared the area, Garst led his squad the four miles back to their observation post — just hours after being ragdolled by an IED blast.

“I wasn’t going to let anybody else take my squad back after they’d been there for me,” he said. “That’s my job.”

The next day Garst awoke with a pounding headache and was as sore as he’d ever been in his life.

“Just getting up from trying to sleep was painful,” he said.

But he saw no reason being sore should slow him down. He popped some ibuprofen and after a day of rest, Garst was back out on patrol, showing his Marines and the enemy that just like his resolve — Garst is unbreakable.

USMC Master Sergeant Aaron C. Torian. 15 FEB 2014.

Died of wounds sustained from a detonated improved explosive device while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Torian was assigned to 2nd MSOB, Marine Special Operations Regiment, MARSOC out of Camp Legeune, North Carolina.

US Army Chief Warrant Officer Edward Balli. 20 JAN 2014.

Died in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds from small arms fire following a coordinated suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack by enemy forces. Balli was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of U.S. Army Europe, Vilseck, Germany. 

SOLDIER STORIES: This one not soon forgotten.

Captain Andrew Wagner, a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot with Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, California National Guard, goes through his pre-flight checks before conducting a maintenance mission at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. The 1st Bn., 168th Av. Regt., is responsible for providing medical evacuations throughout the Regional Command (West) area of operations.

(Photos and article by Cpl. Clay Beyersdorfer, 8 DEC 2013.)

SHINDAND AIRBASE, Afghanistan – Eight soldiers make their way into a dimly-lit tent on a brisk December morning at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. This isn’t the first time the eight soldiers of Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, California National Guard, part of Task Force Nightmare, gathered together, nor will it be the last time they tell the story of the day they met Andy Miller. 

Each has their own perspective and take on that day; each with a different role, a different task – all of which played an integral part in what became a life-saving mission on top of a mountain in western Afghanistan. That eventful day, Sept. 7, 2013, is where the Andy Miller story begins. 

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andy Miller, an instructor pilot at the Afghan National Army aviation training center at Shindand AB, was conducting his usual pre-flight checks with his student. According to Maj. David Lovett, the commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, and one of the eight story tellers who had never met Andy Miller before that fateful day, this was a routine Miller had been doing for nearly a year – he was just weeks away from going home. 

On this particular day, Miller and his Afghan copilot were to practice landing helicopters on top of small points of mountain ranges, or “pinnacles.” The two aviators set off towards a pinnacle that had been used many times before during Miller’s time in Afghanistan.

Back to the present day, where the eight soldiers telling this story come to a halting point, as the story reaches its own pinnacle. They all turn to Lovett, whose unit is responsible for the medical evacuation of personnel in the Regional Command (West) area of operations.

On Sept. 7, Lovett was just 24 hours removed from completing a training exercise on Sept. 6, working on medical evacuations. Irony, sheer coincidence, or some form of twisted fate had Lovett and his Soldiers putting that training to use less than 24 hours after the exercise was over. Lovett picks up the story, recalling how Miller and his Afghan co-pilot neared the pinnacle, which is where the mission took a turn for the worst.

“What happened next, was something out of a movie, something you just couldn’t believe,” Lovett said.

As the helicopter touched down, it set off a pressure-plate improvised explosive device. The blast destroyed the helicopter, leaving a blazing, smoking frame. Back on base, Lovett received a call of a downed aircraft requiring immediate assistance.

“I got the call and it was just go-time,” Lovett said. “We scrambled together, got in contact with a quick reaction force team and we moved out immediately.”

According to Lovett, Miller had removed himself and his co-pilot from the burning aircraft, even though he had a severely fractured leg. The pain was not enough to keep Miller from applying pressure and three tourniquets to his Afghan co-pilot who was also severely injured in the crash, as well as a tourniquet to himself.

Lovett added that Miller doesn’t remember doing any of this, “Probably because of the pain he was in. He was running on pure adrenaline,” he said.

It was an “all hands on deck” situation, as crews from the 1st Attack/Reconnaissance Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, Missouri National Guard, who were in the area conducting their own maintenance mission, flew in to provide aerial security, and soldiers from 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Regiment, Georgia National Guard, provided ground security. 

Miller radioed to whomever he could reach and as the medevac crew arrived, 1st Lt. Thomas Easter, a physician assistant with 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, was one of the first on ground to provide medical attention. As one of the eight soldiers who sat in the room telling the story of Andy Miller, Easter had an up close and personal view of a man he had never met, but saw him like nobody had before. As the helicopter hovered over the crash site, Easter was lowered down to Miller and his copilot, both unable to move due to enormous pain. 

“When I first got down there I saw the burning aircraft, I knew it wasn’t going to be good,” Easter said. “Thankfully, when I came upon them they were responsive and talking to me.”

At that point, instinct just took over for Easter. “I work as a PA in the emergency room back on the civilian side,” he said. “As a medic, you just have so many tasks, and from all the training and experience I have had, it just becomes mechanical.”

Easter, along with a crew, successfully littered the two individuals up, in what Lovett said took only an hour. “We weren’t thinking about anything else, or enemy threat,” Lovett said. “Thanks to the quick reaction force team we had both up in the air and on the ground, we were able to extract Andy and the Afghan pilot quickly.”

He smiles when thinking about how less than 24 hours before the incident, his soldiers were practicing the same exercise. “It was just some weird form of irony that literally the day after we trained, here we are doing this,” Lovett said. “It’s just crazy how things happen.”

Easter, along with the other seven soldiers in the room, echoed that statement. “It was just perfect timing that had happened,” Easter said. “It was fresh in everyone’s minds, everyone knew what they had to do.” 

Fast-forward to present day, and the story still is as fresh as ever. 

“It didn’t really hit me until I saw the first guy (the Afghan co-pilot) get littered up into the bird,” Easter said. “I turned back to Andy and saw him crying, that is how I knew ‘hey this is real – what we are doing, saving his life; this whole thing is real.’” 

Andy Miller was being treated at the Eisenhower Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga., less than a week later. Months later, Miller wrote an email to TF Nightmare’s leadership, which falls under TF Demon of Regional Command (South); Miller took the time to thank people he had never even met for saving his life.

“A ‘thank you’ surely does not sum up how thankful I truly am. Your soldiers, NCOs and officers truly saved my life that day,” he wrote. “And even though I don’t know any of the names of those involved, I am no less thankful to the professionals who rescued me that day.” After enduring 12 surgeries, Miller is now recovering with his wife and kids back home. 

As the eight soldiers who gathered to tell the story of Andy Miller finished, they left the room one by one, reflecting on that very day. The last one to leave was Lovett, who credits his unit’s willingness to constantly train and improve as the reason for success that day.

“We are always looking to challenge ourselves and improve on things,” he said. “Our unit looks to set the standard and be ahead of the curve, and because of that, we were and continue to be successful here in Afghanistan.”

Battered body, undaunted spirit.

semperannoying:

U.S. Army Sgt. Matt Krumwiede was on patrol in Afghanistan in June of 2012 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The explosion tore away both his legs, damaged his left arm, and ripped open his abdominal cavity. The 22-year-old has since undergone around 40 surgeries and is learning to walk with prosthetic legs. He is keen to re-join the infantry as soon as his injuries allow.

(via weaponsgradegains)

USAF Captain David I. Lyon. 27 DEC 2013.

Died from wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck with a VBIED outside Camp Phoenix military base, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Lyon was assigned to the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron out of Peterson AFB, Colorado.

Two Slovakian military personnel who as yet remain unnamed were also killed in the same incident.

USMC Lance Corporal Matthew R. Rodriguez. 11 DEC 2013.

Died following an improvised explosive device attack while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Rodriguez was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, California. 

Staff Sergeant Alex A. Viola. 17 NOV 2013.
Died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol. Viola was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of  Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

US Army Staff Sergeant Richard L. Vazquez. 13 NOV 2013.

Died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an IED encountered while his unit was on dismounted patrol in Panjwai. Vazquez was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.