submitted by Laurie Wicker-Proctor
(a letter written by her nephew, Joshua)
We had two contacts today about twenty five minutes apart. First one: we were
rolling down a terrible road behind a dilapidated town, poor and falling apart.
I started hearing gun shots and thought someone had either just taken a pop
shot at us or some one in the patrol was shooting a car that had passed our
kill line (that happens a lot). But a few seconds later shots rang out again
coming from the town. At best this was a haphazard attack. Maybe a few people
jumping on the opportunity to get to get lit up by some marines. I don’t know.
I just know I saw muzzle flashes coming from three buildings and opened up on
them. Immediately the patrol stopped and everyone got in on the action. We handled
the situation pretty well and followed all the expected response exercises (becoming
the aggressors instead of the ambushed).Ttwo bad guys down – Zero good guys! The
whole episode was about twenty five minutes. We rolled on. Dropped off about
half of our men (“the BEAST” my team, was playing taxi today) and
proceeded home. We got about two minutes down a highway that is in our AO and
got hit by an IED and took rocket fire. I always am the gunner in the fourth
vehicle and for the third time since we have been here the 4th vehicle was picked
as the primary target of the insurgents IED. God was protecting us though, and
they didn’t know it.
Just as the IED went off we were passing a Mac truck and
that truck took the blunt of the explosion. I felt the blast just as I heard
it so I knew it was close. the shrapnel came though the armored windshield (causing
glass and bits of shrapnel to enter the vehicle. The driver was struck in the
face (he got hit the hardest) by shrapnel on his right cheek. His jaw was broke
from the force. My right calf (as I stand facing the rear of the vehicle on
the gun) took some of the left over force and little pieces of glass from the
windshield. At the time it felt worse than it was. I also got a piece of shrapnel
to the shoulder. It went though my flack jacket (kinda like a bullet proof vest)
and stopped at my shoulder. I have a whole in my blouse and skivvies shirt the
size of a quarter but the wound has no shrapnel in it and looks more like I
fell and skinned my knee on some asphalt! Crazy! (I told you God was protecting
us). Our Staff Sgt. didn’t get hurt at all. ensuing the explosion my right side
was in so much pain I couldn’t man the gun. I looked down and saw that our driver
was hurt much worse and I prayed that God would help me stay in the fight physically
and mentally because we were immobile and a perfect target for small arms fire.
It seemed like I heard a voice saying step up to the plate Josh you have to
and the pain went away. I could stand on my leg with no pain and I forgot about
my shoulder wound.
The time element is a little sketchy at best in my mind but about two minutes
later a rocket was fired at our stationary lead vehicle landing about 100 meters
short. I saw the dust clouds from the firing point and engaged it with the m-19
(machine gun that fires grenades) when the dust settled I saw nothing. I don’t
know if he drove away in his truck or if I destroyed the truck. Some time later
I shot at a FO (forward observer) missed low and right. He disappeared.
Doc came to our vehicle and treated our driver and the passenger in the Mac
truck. Mostly bandages. No one knew I was hurt ’til we got back to the base.
It was crazy the emotions going through my body as we rode back. I wanted to
kill everyone I saw, out of fear. And then I was also thinking I should wave
at everyone like normal so they would think everything was fine and we were
invincible! I started singing to God as we rode and I looked into the people’s
eyes (so many filled with hate) knowing that they couldn’t touch me not a hair
on my body unless the God of the Angel Armies allowed them too. And to tell
you the truth anything an Almighty God wants is going to be just fine with me,
because He is good, He loves me and I trust Him. It is good to be on His side.
All that to say I am fine, just some bandages on the calf and one on the shoulder.
Oh, I almost forgot. On the way back Staff Sgt. was driving and he yelled up
to me to say a prayer for us. I did. I started yelling out a prayer and the
power of God filled our truck. All fear vanished and courage rushed in. Gotta
go. Out of time.