“I woke up to the news Osama Bin Laden had been killed. That same, May 2nd 2011, I was combat meritoriously promoted to Sergeant. The company commander and company 1st Sergeant came to the ceremony and decided to patrol with my squad.

Immediately upon leaving Patrol Base Usman, radio chatter indicated there was a suicide bomber in the area and the target was a patrol base near a bridge. That intel was passed every other day, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. The patrol for the most part was quiet, a few key leader engagement here and there, and mostly consisted of showing the CO our area of operation.

We were about 500 meters from the patrol base and my squad was operating in two elements. My lead element was being led by LCpl Patton, and it had the CO, the Platoon Commander & some Afghan National Police guys, the second element was providing overwatch. I was bouncing back and forth between the two. When I went to check on my second element, I stopped and started talking to some of the kids in the compound we were using for overwatch and got this eerie feeling when the kids were apprehensive on conversing with me.

No more than 5 minutes into the conversation, I heard a motorcycle coming from the alleyway adjacent to the compound and then a large explosion. I ran out of the building and noticed all the members of my first team were on the ground. My first though was I lost half of my squad and platoon and company leadership.

The first person I saw conscious was our Machine Gun section leader Cpl. Lindley and he seemed badly wounded. I ran towards him & dragged him by his flak jacket to the overwatch compound to be triaged. I ran back out and the rest of the guys were getting up.

I initially thought someone triggered an IED but noticed all my Marines were intact. Then I noticed a pair of legs, and a messed up motorcycle. Most of the Marines within the lead element were concussed, peppered with ball bearings, but overall intact.

The losses on the American side could’ve been much worse if it wasn’t for Abdul. He stopped the suicide bomber and absorbed the majority of the blast. Our corpsman tried his best to keep him alive doing just about every procedure he could. Seeing him, I knew it was impossible. His left eye was blown out due to the pressurization, his testicles were scattered through his lower legs and his abdomen was completely exposed. To this day I remember his labored breathing and the confusion on his face. Safe to say Abdul saved my squad and for that I will be forever grateful.”
– Sgt Moises Guevara Espinal, US Marines. Afghanistan 2011.