The Last Patrol - 2 Fury
"A thunderclap rocked the tree line, and the concussion punched our ears and rolled through our chests. Beside us, along the canal, a cloud of smoke and dirt billowed 100 feet into the air, far above the trees, against a cloudless blue sky. “IED! IED! IED!” a soldier barked over the radio. Knollinger, leading the element along the road, ran into the field between the road and the canal, toward the explosion, yelling into the hand mike clipped to his vest. “I need a sitrep! I need a sitrep!” Soldiers answered, one by one, save for the two snipers with the patrol. “Viper 4,” Knollinger said. “Are you okay? Viper 4!” Sgt. Christopher Rush responded, dazed, his voice slow. “No, I’m not okay.” Beside him, his partner, Specialist Christopher Moon, lay in a crater five feet wide and two feet deep, his legs missing. The triggerman, hidden in the pomegranate orchard, had blown the bomb under Moon, the last man. Gerhart was 75 feet ahead on the canal trail. He ran back, past a few soldiers who had been knocked to the ground, uninjured. He knelt beside Moon, 20 years old, a high-school baseball star who had been courted by the Atlanta Braves, but had chosen the Army. I’d met Moon the day before, atop an earthen barrier beside Guard Tower 2 at the combat outpost, where he had squatted on two ammunition cans and barely moved, perched like a monk for a two-hour stretch. He rested his rifle on an iron beam and watched a compound a half mile south. He’d killed two fighters there earlier, as good at sniping as he’d been at baseball.
Now his right leg ended above the knee in a thick mass of muscle, skin, and shredded pant leg. His left leg ended in a piece of jagged, shockingly white shin bone. Blood drained into the dirt. Gerhart slipped black nylon tourniquets around the stumps. The 101st medic stood nearby and stared at his first battlefield casualty, stunned. “Ah, it hurts so bad,” Moon said. Gerhart cranked the tourniquets tight. “You’re going to be okay, buddy,” he said. Much of Moon’s gear had been torn away by the explosion. Soldiers removed the rest. Shrapnel had ripped through his arms, breaking the bones in so many places that his forearms bent and sagged at terrible angles. The medic slid a needle into Moon’s arm and started an IV drip of fluids, to replace the lost blood and keep him from slipping into shock. “I’m gonna fucking die,” Moon said. Soldiers wrapped bandages around his arms. Bright blood seeped through. “No, man, you’re going to be okay,” Gerhart said. Moon winced. “I got no legs,” he said."
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