Skip to comments.Sergeant Recalls Insurgent's Attack
Posted on 11/16/2005 6:12:29 PM PST by SandRat
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany, Nov. 16, 2005 When the blast of an explosive device sent his sport utility vehicle hurling 45 feet away from his convoy in Baghdad City, Iraq, Master Sgt. Jimmie Hughes literally did not know what hit him. About a year since that fateful day when Hughes was knocked unconscious, he was honored here Nov. 11 with the prestigious Purple Heart military decoration. The award signifies that a U.S. military member or a U.S. civilian national suffered serious injury or death in action against an enemy of the United States.
As the soft sounds of the national anthem echoed across the supply warehouse, it was here at Hughes' in-garrison work station that the story would be told publicly for the first time. Hughes recalled the day that he said dumb luck and smart training saved his life.
Two Army soldiers were in the front seats of the vehicle while Hughes rode in the back passenger-side seat. The three men were on their way to Baghdad International Airport.
We were going to pick up trailers used to load weapons and ammunition, he wrote in a letter read aloud by one of his colleagues. The trip normally took about 15 minutes, but I figured without traffic, we could do it in 10. I had five bucks riding on it.
When Hughes' vehicle, fourth in the convoy, passed the center of the bridge, a car waited for the convoy to pass. What happened next not only cost the noncommissioned officer $5, but nearly cost him his life.
As our vehicle passed the waiting car, I saw the driver of that car punch the accelerator and plow into the front of our truck, Hughes wrote.
In an instant, the impact detonated the improvised explosive device, blowing a hole in the concrete overpass the size of a compact car. Amidst the earth-rumbling shower of glass and debris, the bomber died instantly, and his engine shot 50 feet above Hughes' vehicle. But the disaster was far from over.
The force of the explosion collapsed the cement overpass and a massive slab of concrete fell from the bridge, instantly killing a driver traveling beneath it.
Twenty minutes elapsed before rescuers knew the fates of Hughes and his two Army passengers, who sustained severe injuries and were knocked unconscious. The wounded men were thus far unaware they had just survived an insurgent's attack.
Hughes said pain in his shoulder caused him to wake up.
The pain in my shoulder was blinding, he added. I also broke three bones in my left foot when it was crushed by the passenger seat.
Hughes and his comrades were taken to a hospital in Baghdad. The recovery for each would take months, but the lessons would last a lifetime.
Take the training you get here seriously, said the sergeant. We're on the front lines with the Army, Navy and Marines, and the skills we develop right here at wing level can save our own life or our buddy's life.
But it illustrates just how much Jaques Frenchie Kerry-Heinz denigrated the Purple Heart. Three Purple Hearts without an overnight stay in the hospital. Ha!
I have a good friend who was in the invasion of Utah Beach in Normandy. He was shot in the chest by the Krauts, spent a year in the hospital, and got one (1) Purple Heart. That's equivalent to Kerry-Heinz's splinter?
Sorry. I'm still angry about Jaques Frenchie Heinz's Purple Heart caper.
This description says "serious injury." Kerry didn't have any "serious" injuries, did he?
Hmf. I was actually thinking the same thing as you, unfortunately. It would have been better to think of this man's valor, rather than Kerry's cowardice....
Thanks for the ping!