The following was written on January 1, 2007.
This is going to sound really weird but bear with me. This new years was one I will not soon forget. At midnight I was laying on a surgical table at FOB Rusty having my left testicle looked at under an ultra sound machine.
"Ben why in Gods name were you having you testicle looked at with an ultra sound machine" You may be asking
Well, because last night at around 10pm voodoo 1143 was hit by a road side IED. I Sgt Benjamin H King sustained a shrapnel wound to the left pinkie finger and blunt force trauma with lacerations to the left testicle"
OH MY GOD" you are probably saying "are you OK" is going to be your first question
"Yes i am perfectly fine" I respond with a smile because for me getting hit by an IED to end the year of 2006 will always be a very fond memory.
"Did anyone else in your truck get hurt"?
"One other guy got a pretty good cut above his left eye, other than that, nothing"
I wish I had the picture I took from inside the vehicle to show you what happened and how Bec truly saved my life, alas I am at the Rusty med station with borrowed everything so the picture will come later.
Here's the story of how I ended my year with a Bang
Just like every other patrol. Driving around the mahallahs handing out leaflets, driving slow, looking out for IEDs, shooting the shit and making jokes. I was telling the story of what I was doing last year at this time to the people in my truck. Golf is in the states so his replacement Buckeye was in the turret. We also had LT W riding with us, he just wanted to come out because he was bored. He was sitting behind me.
We stopped inside a neighborhood called military city. Our goal was to pick up an informant. When we couldn't find him we started to leave and as we were rolling out the guy runs up to us. We tell him to get in the truck. He tells us to wait one second because he wanted to get something to wear against the cold. After a minute he came back out hopped into the first truck and off we went.
Following his instructions we took a right off the main road and started going down a road I have traveled on a thousand times. On the left is a husania, a smaller mosques, the first trucks goes by, the second, the third, I remember smiling about something them BOOOM.
There is a bright flash of light, I don't hear it as much as see it, I have my ear plugs in, I see a massive amout of grit and tiny pieces of glass fly at my face, I close my eyes, it would have been too late had it not been for my safety glasses. They took the entire shower of glass and whatever else, sparing my eyes completely and leaving my browns unharmed. The truck stops dead in its tracks. I am thrown forward and immediately I feel a throbbing in my stomach and a burning sensation in my right thigh. The burning gets pretty intense so I disconnect my side arm holster and the burning stops immediately. As the smoke and dust clear I look down and see a descent amount of blood. I look down at my feet, my legs my stomach, I take the flashlight out and see more clearly that there is blood on my clothes and weapons but its not from any major cut on my lower extremities, its blood from my pinky finger on my left hand. I look at my left hand and my pinky finger is a little cut up but nothing serious I have full range of motion and I remember wondering
"Am I going to get a purple heart for this"
At this point I look around the rest of the truck. Buckeye is sitting calmly in his turret strap blood streaming down his face. We talk to him and find out that he has got a pretty good gash but he's conscious and feeling alright. I still have comms with the other trucks so I respond on my radio to the other trucks that we have been hit and I start giving to status of the other guys in the truck.
At this point the intense pain in my stomach and groin gets pretty bad. I am having trouble breathing and I can only talk in spurts. As the third vehicle backs up to pull us out of the kill area, I look down again at my body and then look at what was left of the driver side door window.
I can't help but laugh and pull out my camera. When I show you guys this picture you are all going to shit. There is a bubble were the bullet proof window stopped the blast that's aiming straight at my head. Everyone I showed the picture too couldn't believe it and kept calling me one lucky SOB.
I told them luck had nothing to do with it, it wasn't my time.
We were pulled out of the kill zone to a safer location, the Doc got in our vehicle and took a look at Buckeye. After getting Buckeye squared away he gives me a pat down looking for wounds, bleeding, etc. I'm still pretty surprised that he doesn't find anything. Since I can't open my door I crawl out of Bec for the last time.
I know all this is being video tapped by the Bad guys. They use the videos of IED strikes as recruitment tools. Well those fuckers aren't using this one. When I got out of the vehicle I screamed towards the evils that lurk in the night
"YOU CAN'T KILL ME YOU COWARDS"
My groin was killing me so I sat back down in the recovery vehicle, that didn't help either so I stood outside the door. Someone asked me if I wanted a smoke. I asked if they had any Marborollo lights. Doc handed me a smoke.
Holding it in my hand looking at it and smelling it I thought of my mom, handed back to the DOC and said "You know what Bro, I don't smoke cigarettes anymore"
I did however pull out the cigar I now keep with me in my armor and lit that bad boy up.
They got us back to the AID station on Loyalty. There were 30 people waiting outside the aid station ready to help. Buckeye and myself both got out of the vehicle under our own steam and walked into the aid station. My groin was still killing me. The pain was coming in waves. After stripping down to my boxers they inspected my groin.
It was all I could do to keep from laughing, actually all I did was laugh and make jokes. I was surrounded by stern and worried faces, I had a guy inspecting my left testicle and it was 45 min until the new year. The doc was worried about my nut, so he decided to have me medivaced to a level 2 trauma center to get it checked out. There are several levels of trauma for the aid station, urgent surgical being the worse, I told the Doc that even though everything was intact down there I thought that this injury was definitely urgent surgical. Thats when the jokes started.
I have now heard many more vasectomy jokes than I ever thought I would. I now know that you can still do your thing and make babies with only one nut but that around 50 my sex drive would fall off. LOL
I had everyone from the Colonel to the Chaplain come in and look after me. There I was half naked on the stretcher holding an ice pack to my nuts laughing it up with the old man and who ever else happened to stop by.
I told Private C, the beautiful nurse with big brown doe eyes how I turned down a cigarette. I remembered her from when I came to the aid station exactly one month ago to get help quiting.
They sent me off on a helicopter to Rusty to get my nuts looked at. Still 20 minutes to go until midnight.
When I got to the trauma center at Rusty I was rushed into the same room as the guy that died from FOB Loyalty the night before.....another IED strike.
From the looks of the room it would have seemed that it had never been used before. Perfectly clean, bright and full of doctors and nurses ready to work. To my chagrin, they stripped me naked and went to work getting my vitals, etc, etc. With the room still half full of men and woman medical staff, I was told to bring the soles of my feet together and relax. I don't know about relax, but I did laugh my ass off. Whenever I moved or they touched my guy, the pain was pretty excruciating. However I didn't feel it much through the laughter. One doc asked if it hurt and I said hell yeah it did. He then asked why was I laughing?
"You see what I look like right know on this table, Doc, wouldn't you be laughing."
At about 5 minutes to midnight the doctor said that he.............
"I'm sorry joe, I'm going to have to make sure your not bleeding out of your rectum"
"Jesus doc, you could have just asked", I said tears of laughter streaming down my face 3 minutes left.
A doc with a pretty good mustache came in with a portable ultra sound machine and two other doctors. They were going to check out my testicle and teach a class at the same time.
!0, 9, 8, ...........
Going into the new year I was butt naked with three doctors poking and prodding my left testicle with an ultra sound machine. They did however take the time to put a happy new year hat on my head and take a picture, I should be getting that in the email pretty soon, I don't know if I'm going to send ya'lll that one.
Anyway the rest is pretty much history. Turns out my nut is fine and I'm still going to be 'strong like bull' well into my fifties.
I do however feel that I will forever have a special bond with the Rusty medical staff. I may not have been making out with a beautiful girl going into the the new year but I did just have my rectum probed and three men at the stroke of midnight were staring at the ultrasound images of my testicle. Hmmmmm.....yeah what the hell.....for a second there I thought about deleting that last sentence but nahhhhhh, we are all pals.
So yeah I'm good. It may be a couple of days before I get home because I wasn't sent with my armor but other than that I feel great. I'm in good spirits and I think getting hit by the IED was one of the coolest things that has happened to me. I should be dead....BUT I"M NOT....does it get any better than that.
Nothing happens for nothing, there are no coincidences and we are all a spark from the fire.
I wonder what 2007 holds for me.
I write this as a challenge to all who wonder about their place or their impact. May Fear and Love be your guide.
ARMOR DOWN UPDATES
This post was guided by the 113th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down is backing Legislation "H.R. 3516" AKA "The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013".
This bill will
• Expand the scope of holistic care education and research for signature wounds such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
• Establish complementary and alternative medicine pilot programs for mental health and pain management treatment for veterans.
• Create a grant pilot program to upgrade Veteran Service Organization facilities, expanding the reach of wellness services directly into economically strained communities.
Show your support for this legislation by signing this petition.
A new comedy on Fox, called Enlisted is really funny. Check it out.
Folk singer Big Cat Wilson created this song which was inspired by Armor Down.
Mindful Memorial Day is coming in May.
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