02 May 2012

Soldiers recount 60-second attack that left them reflecting on life and death

Staff Sgt. Damian Remijio shows the entry and exit wounds he sustained during a firefight with insurgents April 12, 2012. He was saved from further injury by the chest plate of his body armor, which stopped two bullets from an AK-47. Photo: Joshua L. Demotts / Stars & Stripes.

Remijio didn’t see the grenade. His reaction relied on instinct and experience.

He dropped down to wrap his body around the injured Fitch to protect him from shrapnel. The grenade landed amid a mound of rocks a few feet in front of them and tumbled in their direction.

Ting … ting … ting …

“Tell Ashley I love her. Tell Leiah I love her. Tell them I’m sorry.”

“What? Why?” Fitch asked.

He had heard the clinking of the grenade, but he was disoriented after being shot.

He struggled to pull free. Remijio hugged him tight. Their faces were almost touching.

A gripping account superbly told by Martin Kuz of Stars & Stripes. Must-read.

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