Letters from the front... part 4
(This letter below was sent out to all the soldiers that trained up with Daniel Casara and me at Ft. Carson.)
Dear Ft. Carson Pals,
I had been planning to send a letter to you all letting you know how things are going with me and those stationed in my close proximity. However, something much larger than that has forced my hand into action. Our dear and wonderful friend, SGT Daniel Casara, has been seriously wounded in action.
He and I were assigned to the same company - he in an admin job, and me, obviously (11B) in a combat role. Our company is assigned the most dangerous sectors in the area. (I earned my C.I.B. on day two here - and have re-earned it ten to twenty fold since.) From day one, I have gone outside the wire on at least one, and often two combat missions per day. Daniel wanted badly to go out on a mission, to see what it was like outside the wire. He reasoned with his chain of command until they eventually let him go out. Then another. I think last night was only his third or forth mission outside the wire.
He was on a night combat patrol mission. His section was to clear an area known to be very active for IED activity. He was one of six men in a 113. As they were staging in an open area, his vehicle was hit by an IED. The blast was so immense that in addition to penetrating the 113’s armor, it completely overturned it. Tragically, two soldiers were killed, two were seriously wounded, and two had minor wounds. Obviously, I’ve already indicated where Daniel Falls into that line up. In addition to various superficial wounds, both of his legs were badly broken below the knees. The doctors initially thought they would have to amputate them. But God had a different plan. With the very hard work of the doctors, and by the grace of God, they were able to save his legs.
I got the chance to talk with him after he came out of surgery. It was everything I could do to keep from crying. I wanted to be strong for him. But ironically, it was he being strong for me. Although groggy, he was in his somewhat normal good spirits. He said, "Look at all this junk on my junk!" (He was referring to the orthopedic cages on both of his legs.) We both had a good laugh about that. The doctor said that although the surgery went well, he has a very long and difficult recovery. Only time will tell how well his overall recovery will go. We should all stop what we’re doing right now and pray that his recovery goes well. I’m serious, please stop reading right now and say a prayer for our friend, Daniel. Thank you.
Anyhow, he is on his way to Germany, and his war is over. I will e-mail him to keep him in the loop, but more than I can say; I will miss seeing him on a daily basis. Both he and I have fit into this unit very well. He is/was very well liked by everyone in this company. He was doing incredibly well at his job. The 1SG and the CO were amazed at how proficient and efficient he was at getting things done. I think they, second only to me, will miss him more than most others.
I indicated above that my company has the most dangerous sectors in the area. Also, that we are incredibly close. We do and we are. My unit has lost seven men in the last ten days. Twice that many have been seriously wounded and sent to Germany. And I believe we’ve got around ten that are hobbling around here in various states of recovery. Every one of them is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get back out there to go to work. No doubt, SGT Daniel Casara, although it won’t happen soon, feels the same. I will miss him and I will continue to pray for his complete recovery. I’m certain that you all will as well. I’ll e-mail an update letter and some photos soon. God speed, pals.
Your Pal - Julian G