(Ft Sam Houston Texas )
On 7 Jan 2011 I was the turret gunner in a gun truck in Charkh Afghanistan. We were driving along looking for Taliban in a village close to our COP when a 600 bomb exploded beneath the truck and broke my knee. For a split second there was no fire and I managed to yell into the radio "IED" when the driver of our truck opened his door and flames engulfed our truck. It was like being trapped in an oven. There were 7 people in there and were were being cremated alive. Shrapnel shredded my left wrist, I had a broken right knee and was engulfed by fire. I could hear everyone screaming including myself. Through my training I looked up to the turret and through the orange flames and smoke I could see the sky, it was a clear blue. I thought aboutnhow I couldn't get out, how I was going to die, how I promised friends and family I'd be okay, and how I was about to die a liar. But I picked my self up through the tiny turret (I'm 6'1 and was a 210lb machine gunner) I made it in to the roof and thought of the best way off so I jumped 12 feet down and avoided breaking anything. I crawled to cover away from the truck which was full of explosives and ammo and I was being shot at. I laid there and looked at what I had just escaped and realized no one else followed me from the vehicle. Our medic got to me and put out the parts of me that were still burning. I had the smell of burnt flesh and diesel in my nose mouth and throat and only wanted water. I hobbled 400 meters on one leg back to the evac vehicle through bullets and RPGs to find who was going to get me and another guy out of there. When I got there I climbed in with one working arm and leg. It was the hardest thing ever. I had dislodged lungs burnt lung tissue and what felt like a horrible sunburn that my crusted clothes rubbed against. My 80 pounds of gear weighed me down but I was wired off adrenaline. When I got in I chugged water and poured it on me and my buddy who had a burnt arm. We drove through the ambush back to our COP where I was flown back to a FOB and put intoa coma. I under went 15 surgeries to replace my skin and repair my knee. 7 of us went into that truck 2 of us got out. The other 5 burned alive because they were trapped. I wear my scars like s badge of honor. I'm an infantryman in the US Army, I love my job and these are my battle scars. However it is something I would like to avoid in the future. Im still recovering, mainly from the broken knee, but life does go on and if you think you're bad, there is always somebody worse.
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