Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Wounded Oregon soldier adjusts after mine attack

Wounded Oregon soldier adjusts after mine attack
‘Send me back,’ says Purple Heart winner Matthew Braddock
By BEN JACKLET Issue date: Tue, Apr 26, 2005
The Tribune

Matthew Braddock was driving a Humvee near Kirkuk, Iraq, when an anti-tank mine destroyed his vehicle and pulverized the bones in his feet.
“I remember smoke and stuff flying at me and my truck commander yelling, ‘Is everybody all right?’ ” he said. “My gunner yelled down that he was all right. And I yelled that I was all right because I thought I was.
“Then I took two steps and hit the ground.”
Quick action by his fellow Oregon National Guard soldiers saved Braddock’s life, but the best surgeons in the Army couldn’t save his left leg below the knee. Right before his amputation, he drew a dotted line on his ankle and wrote, “Cut Here.”
Braddock, a 24-year-old cavalry scout who was honored with the Purple Heart on Sunday in Forest Grove, is a casualty of a war where roadside bombs can turn a soldier’s world upside down in an instant. Roughly two-thirds of the injuries to U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq come from explosions. The Iraq War’s 6 percent amputee rate is about double that of previous wars.


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