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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Prayers

I'm sure you hate seeing that headline on this blog as much as I hate typing it. Unfortunately I am bringing you all another prayer request for two of our guys who were badly wounded the second night we were out in the Zaidon. Our two engineers, who have been attached to our platoon since we have been in the Zaidon, were badly wounded the second night we were down there. Since I only knew them for about a month, I'm going to withold their names from this post.

My squad and I went out on a pretty routine mission with them to sweep for weapons caches. We found an abandoned house that had bullet casings all over it and we spent about 20 minutes investigating. Satisfied that nothing was to be found there, we began to make our way out of the building. I was the second to last man out. As I was walking away, LCPL Arguello followed behind me and I heard a loud bang. The whole squad hit the deck, thinking a grenade had been thrown behind us. I turned around expecting to see Archie a mess, but instead I see him just standing there, stunned, with smoke around his feet. I thought maybe he had accidentily fired his weapon, so I started yelling at him. He swore he hadn't.

I moved up with the engineers to investigate a little more. What we found scared the living hell out of me. We found a homemade pressure plate device (sometimes called Christmas tree lights, because that's what they look like), two blasting caps and some copper wire. IED. We started uncovering some dirt and found a 120mm artillery shell. It had been wired as a booby trap, and if the terrorist hadn't failed out of Tech School and wired the blasting caps incorrectly, myself and about 3 other Marines would have been in a world of hurt.

So we called up EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) and told them the story. They began to come out and we cordoned off the house. We were waiting for about 4 hours when they finally arrived. CPL Williams went to a canal bridge to link up with the team, and, right as he was about to step on the bridge, he looked down and saw another pressure plate, another booby trap, right at the edge of the bridge. His boot was about 6 inches away. Luckily, EOD was there so they dismantled it. That's when things went to hell.

After they dismantled the bridge bomb, CPL Williams, the two engineers and two other Marines were making their way back to the bridge to link up and lead them to the house. While they were walking up, one of the engineers stepped on a third booby trap, and this one was rigged correctly. He was directly above the blast when it went off, and the other engineer was right beside him.

When I got on there it was chaos. Our doc and the EOD docs managed to save their lives, and we got them on a helicopter in time. But I just recently received word that they are both already stateside. One of them has lost both his legs and some of his left arm, the other has shrapnel to 60% of his body.

It's awful to think about. These Marines had literally walked over this booby trap 3 times, back and forth to the bridge. It was pure dumb luck.

I don't know how they're doing, and I don't know if I'll ever speak to them again. But I'll never forget that night. It was awful. In one instant their lives were forever changed. It made me think- it's one thing to go out and risk your life daily, that I can handle, because if it ends, I'll never know any better. But now I realize how much you go out and risk your dreams, and that's harder to grasp and handle, because when those are taken from you, you have to live with that. I am not saying that their lives are ruined, dreams shattered. Their lives are still before them, but they are forever altered. Many of the things they probably wanted to do are no longer possible for them, and that is hard to swallow.

Remember them tonight.

27 comments:

  1. Jake- You and your fellow Marines will be in my prayers as always.

    Rachel in Madison

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  2. Praying for you all tonight and every day hereafter.

    Rob
    ex 82nd ABN. Grunt
    Nanaimo, BC Canada

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  3. Always in our prayers

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  4. Yes, in my prayers, and in my heart, every day. I hope and pray for all you guys there.
    peace.

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  5. jAKE-
    My Prayers are out to you and your men as always.
    -Elliot

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  6. Jake, you and your men are always in our prayers! We will add the families of those two men to our prayers to help them with what is yet to come.

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  7. Jake, Keep ya chin up. Us aussies down under really appreciate what you guys are doing over there!

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  8. Having an old friend who lost half his spine in Vietnam, then went on 12 years later to begin devoting the rest of his life to saving unborn babies from abortion (untold thousands to this date), I know God can take a terrible thing and make it an incredible blessing. But these guys need prayers so they can see what God has in store for them. You and all our soldiers are in our family's daily prayers, with fervent prayers for these two men.

    Lori in Texas

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  9. I pray for you guys over there daily. Thank you for serving!

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  10. Thoughts, hopes, and prayers here in Ohio as well.

    (no other words)
    -Scott Malensek

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  11. I'm glad to see you're OK. I will pray for them and for you.

    May God lead and guide you.

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  12. Jake, I go visit the wounded troops at Walter Reed every week. If they were transferred there, I will find out how they are doing for you. If you want to know more about what kind of stuff I do there, go to www.freerepublic.com and search for "Walter Reed", or "Sounds of Laughter"

    Send me an email at senseiern(the sign)gmail.com with their names and I will see whether I can visit them and give you an update.

    Ern

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  13. Jake - It was so great hearing from you, I am sorry that you all had to deal with this.

    I know you are told often but I feel it my obligation to tell you again how THANKFUL we all are for everything you are going everyday.

    You are a true hero Jake Wood!!

    Lisa in Wilton Iowa

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  14. Jake,
    I will say extra prayers tonight!!! BE SAFE!! And Please keep Posting!! Jack Madison, Wi.

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  15. That's terrible. I'm really sorry.

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  16. Jake, I agree with the other posts...you and America's other outstanding young men and women are always in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you!

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  17. come home you jackass- i'm gettin tired of worryin about ya'll, it's really annoying. call me if you get a minute, i'll see ya when I see ya. later bro.

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  18. cJake, I have just prayed for your two injured Marines. I think it's easier to pray for individuals than to pray a "blanket" prayer for all of the Marines in harm's way in Iraq. So, thanks for telling us about them so that we can pray for them.
    Please, when it's appropriate to do so, let us know their names and how we might contact them directly. Sounds like they'll need encouragement and support for a long time.
    I read your blog regularly and commend you on telling it like it is over there. My son was in Fallujah for seven months with AA Bravo Co, out of Lejeune, and got back in April. My awareness of what he faced over there was limited, which, in retrospect, was probably a blessing! Reading your blog, I understand more of what he faced, though I think your patrols are way worse than his were.
    I appreciate your courage and your desire and willingness to share your experiences with anyone and everyone who chances upon this blog. Hold on, keep going, keep writing, keep the faith, keep in touch.
    Libby from Washington, Maine, a "Marine Mom"

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  19. The young men and their families are in our prayers. I have a contact at WR if you would like to find out how the guys are doing. I can work the system for you to get the info. At least their general status.

    Hang tough.

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  20. Thinking about you and them. So horrible to read, I'm sure it was a million times horrible in person.

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  21. You and your men will always be in my prayers until you are home safe and sound! It's always a relief to see that you have done a post.

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  22. Jake, I am stopping now to pray for the two who were injured but I also pray for those of you left behind in harm's way. Thanks so much for MY freedom in America, in Georgia. I am praying to the One Who bought my Spiritual Freedom with His blood. He knows each name!

    Meatnie in Georgia

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  23. Jake:My thoughts and prayers are with you and all the men over there. I will continue to read your blog,as then I shall know the true meaning of war!
    A MOM IN WISCONSIN.

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  24. Jake,

    Prayers enroute every day. Any update on their condition?

    I was wondering if you'd ever heard anything about this research into explosives detection --> http://www.sandia.gov/media/minebees.htm --> http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/bees/

    I read about this several years ago while it was being researched at the University of Montana and found it quite interesting at the time.

    freevolition

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  25. Well, it's been almost a year since your post, and I really don't know who you are at all, but I've just got to thank you so much. The Marine you were talking about that lost his legs just so happens to be my brother. It's a small world, isn't it?

    I came across your post after reading a different article about Ray (my brother) where someone suggested it to read, and saw that there was no way it could have been anyone else you were talking about than him. You described the situation to a 't'. Again, I want to thank you so much for asking all these people to pray for my brother. I'm sure it's God's grace through those prayers that helped him them and is helping him today with his new prosthetics. THANK YOU!

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  26. Jake,

    here is a link to the story of the engineer who lost his legs. Hope you are well and are safe in the 'Stan

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/09/cpl-raymond-d-h.html

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  27. Unbelievably hard times, not a minutes rest. Yet we are alive, and we do our best and we never forget.

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