“When I first arrived on scene, I glassed the area out, because no one had confirmed the sniper killed or gone. After a few, I made the mistake of assuming dude had fled because we had been on the ground 6 months and they weren’t likely to stick around for a stand up fight unless we trapped them.
I opened my TC door and stood behind it, I told my guys, if you’re ever just standing around, open your door and stand behind it, it’s not much, but it might save your life.
After a few seconds I felt an impact like I had never felt before and it knocked me to the ground. I remember thinking “what the fuck was that?!!” As I laid on the ground. Never heard the shot or saw anything. My left arm was numb and I felt a pain in my chest and curled up into a fetal position. A voice in my head said, get up! Get up!
I shook my left hand like it was waking up sleep, pins and needles. Rolled into the prone and got my gun up. I remember seeing the red dot from my CCO and putting it on a lone tree about 200 meters out and thinking that’s where he had to be, but I didn’t see anything.
The medic next to me, “Doc Archie” crawled onto my back where he saw the bullet exit through my body armor, he said, “It’s ok, I think it just knocked you!”
After what seemed like forever, I told him, “Doc we’re sitting ducks, we need to get behind the hmmv.” I could see the other guys on the other positions scrambling. I knew they heard the shot and saw me go down. I keyed up on my icom and told them I had been shot, but was ok. I was still in a lot of pain and my left arm was still numb, but for some reason I told them I could still use it.
Doc crawled under the hmmv, through a puddle of his own piss he just left. I kind of 3 point football crawled to the front and sat down for some reason. I could still see the other guys scrambling around and I keyed up and told them that I think I’m ok. Just then I feel myself being lifted by my drag handle, doc picking me up.
He sat me down leaning up against the rear wheel on the driver’s side. By then he could see the blood pouring out under the collar piece and down the front of my IBA. The look in his eyes told me everything was probably not ok.
He opened the front of my vest and he looked shocked. Later he told me there was a big fu*king hole in my trach. With big eyes, he told me everything was going to be okay. Just then, the LT pulled up a few feet away and asked what the situation was, Doc turned around and yelled “We gotta get him to the fu*king hospital right fucking now!”
We got my IBA off and he started plugging curlex into my neck, I helped him hold it into place. Then they helped me into the back seat behind the driver.
That’s when that photo was taken, our photographer was riding with the LT that day
Heading northbound on Rte Irish, an Iraqi car tried to merge next to us, my driver was screaming at the gunner to light them up, but the gunner was hesitant. The driver kept swerving the truck as he looked back and I thought, ‘Great, I’ll probably survive the gunshot but die in roll over.’
I looked past Doc through the window and could see it was just a few Iraqis not paying attention, that’s probably why the gunner didn’t fire. In any event, if it was a car bomb it would have detonated by now so I told everyone to calm down. (Yes, the guy with the bullet hole in his neck told everyone else to calm down)
The People in the car quickly realized they were way to close to American vehicles and promptly pulled over but my driver was still very agitated. The driver was, and still is a good friend, so sharing the same humor, I tried to bring him some calm by telling him a joke (a quote from the movie top shots) I said, ‘Mike! A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, why the long face.’ Except I passed out before I got the long face part out. That didn’t work out.
At some point I remember hearing Doc scream, ‘Stay with me! Stay with me!’ And I could feel him pulling my eyelid open, but all I could see was light. I thought, ‘Well, this must be it.’ That bullet must have spun around inside of me and I’m bleeding out.
My first child had been born right as I got mob’d up and was about 8 months old at that point and I started thinking of her. Shortly after I felt a sensation that I think was a second adrenaline dump and I opened my eyes.
Soon we were at the emergency gates of the 86th CSH and the Corporal in charge of the gate said everyone needed to get out and clear their weapons first. Doc was literally holding my throat and was like, ‘Are you fu*king serious?’
The Corporal was oblivious and insisted. Thats when my driver pulled out and racked his M9 pistol and threatened to blow the guy’s head off if he didn’t open the gate. Fortunately, the LT walked up and threw the gate open before anyone got shot. I truly think he would have done it.
I walked into the ER and saw another one of our guys on a gurney and thought, ‘How many guys did this dude shoot?!’, but it turns out he went into heat exhaustion dragging the other guy 6 stories off the roof. I went into surgery and that pretty much concluded the days events.”
– SSG Christian Carpenter, Weapon Squad Leader, C co 1/184 INF, 4th BDE, 3ID. 22 June 2005
This story was documented by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.