Marine Lance Corporal Winder Perez was wounded in a Taliban attack in southern Afghanistan. But there were some extenuating circumstances to his wound. A 12-inch live remnant from an RPG—rocket propelled grenade—was lodged in his leg.
“For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save them from those who would condemn them to death.” —Psalm 109:31
“Each of us on the aircraft had to agree to take the patient on,” Specialist Mark Edens said. “There was quite a bit of alarm among the crew at the time, as you can imagine,”
Captain Kevin Doo added. “If the RPG exploded, you know Specialist Edens and Sergeant Hardesty are working on the patient directly over him, shrapnel alone would have been devastating. And about 18 inches behind where the patient is lying is over 300 gallons of jet aviation fuel, and it would have been catastrophic.”
So they flew the 65 miles to the nearest field hospital, cautiously trying to keep Perez’s condition stable.
When the helicopter landed, the team stayed outside the facility. Navy Lieutenant Commander James Gennari and Army Staff Sergeant Ben Summerfield, an explosives expert, began removing the RPG section from his leg.
Wearing full combat gear and a flak jacket, Summerfield finally pulled the RPG from Perez’s leg, so that medical teams could treat his injuries. The soldier recovered from the wound.
Whether you have never been in a crisis such as this, or your job requires this level of risk almost daily, it is once again a reminder that our lives are not in our hands and not under our control.
HEAVENLY CARETAKER, today I recognize that You are in control of my life. Guide me in the simple, daily choices, and the hard calls.