Terror in a Cloud of Dust

(Page 4 of 4)

I am dazed for just a moment, and then something in me kicks into high gear. Call it adrenalin or combat reaction, but it is something I have only felt in the worst of situations. I immediately flip the switch and call in to the convoy commander.

“Two KIA, two KIA! Fucking EOD just stepped on the secondary!” I shout.

Before I can completely finish, I see one of the EOD guys crawling under a black cloud of dust to the T-barrier. I still have my mic on.

An Army medivac helicopter prepares to land
Photo: Travis Zielinsk/Flickr/cc-by-2.0

“Hold on, one KIA, one WIA!” As I finish that sentence, I am floored when I see the other EOD guy crawling to the T-barrier as well.

Words cannot explain what is going through my head. Two men who I thought were dead and in pieces are alive and, barely, still moving. My mic still on, I cry over the net at the top of my lungs, “They are both alive! Two WIA—I repeat, two WIA! Medic! We need to get a medic in there to assist those men!”

At the Bradley fighting vehicle to my north, two infantry soldiers about to go in after the wounded give each other a bone-chilling glance. Without words, this glance says it all. It says, “I love you, brother.” It says, “I am scared, brother.” It says, “I don’t want to, brother.” It says, “Tell my family I love them, brother.” It says, “Always remember me.”

The soldiers go in for the wounded. I can hear the medevac chopper coming. The soldiers grab the EOD men by the handles on the backs of their bulletproof vests and drag them out of the danger zone to the Bradley.

The doc starts to assist the wounded, and puts them on stretchers as the chopper approaches. The Bradley deploys green smoke to mark the landing area. The chopper sets down, the EOD men are loaded into the bird, and they’re gone.

The author survived an IED attack in 2005 with a broken back and a traumatic brain injury. He is a recent graduate of the Pathway Home, a residential treatment center for combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and now does volunteer outreach for the Veterans Administration and a veterans support group in Missoula, Montana.

(Published December 10, 2009, on New America Media)