serendipitous reflections

Friday, September 23, 2005

Only by the grace of God...

Jeni spoke with Hannah today and got the details on Nathan's injuries.

Nathan was driving the lead Humvee in a caravan along a route they routinely patrolled when they hit a freshly laid landmine. Their Humvee was thrown six to eight feet in the air, killing Nathan's friend "Worm" in the passenger seat immediately. The gunner in the turret was ejected, which is probably the only way he survived. When the Humvee hit the ground, the engine collapsed on Nathan, crushing his leg. Nathan realized "Worm" was dead and started calling for the gunner. At this point, they started taking on fire from the insurgents.

Nathan's friend was driving the second vehicle in the convoy. He and three others pushed Nathan further into the Humvee and lifted the engine so that they were able to pull him through the turret and out of the Humvee. His friend stayed with Nathan behind the Humvee, pouring water from Nathan's canteen on him and shielding him from fire and the sun. Nathan said he was extremely hot, but didn't know if it was from the explosion, his injuries or simply being in the desert. He suffered the crushed leg, a broken spine with several fractured vertebra, a pneumothorax in one lung with the other lung collapsed and injuries to his spleen.

He recalls hearing helicopters coming and saying to his friend that he was happy that the medivac was on its way, and his friend said that that wasn't the medivac but their backup instead. Medivac was about seven minutes out, and Nathan said he didn't think he could live another seven minutes.

Fortunately, he did. He was airlifted away with no paralysis, taken to Germany to be stabilized and is en route to Walter Reed in Washington, DC. The status of his leg is unknown, and they are closely monitoring his spleen in hopes of not removing it. Hannah is flying out tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

Her son Hunter is ten and when Hannah heard of Nathan's injuries, at first she only knew of the broken leg. She told Hunter that the Army had called her mom and Hunter immediately went into hysterics. Hannah calmed him, assuring Hunter that Nathan was alive and going to be OK, so he only knows of the injured leg and that Nathan is coming home. I can only imagine what a 10-year-old's imagination could do with this scenario.

Please continue to keep Nathan and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We just thank God he's alive and coming home.


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