Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
– General George S. Patton, Jr.
On December 27, 2003, while en route to the Iraqi Police Academy Range, Staff Sergeant Sullivan’s Squad was hit by an IED. Staff Sergeant Sullivan’s Squad was part of several squads from different Military Police Companies assigned to the range. The first blast damaged one of his two vehicles, injuring all three soldiers, one severely. The vehicle was so heavily damaged that it could not exit the kill zone to safety.
The driver, Private First Class Wabrek, received numerous wounds, despite the bullet-resistant glass and the flak jacket secured to the door to block incoming shrapnel. While Wabrek sustained injuries to the face and left eye, his Kevlar helmet stopped what would have been a fatal blow. The blast also shattered the magazine of his M-16, which was in a bracket next to his left leg, riddling his leg with fragments of bullets and the magazine itself. Private First Class Wabrek is one of the toughest individuals I have ever met; he never once complained.
Other pieces of shrapnel flew inside the vehicle and struck Team Leader Sergeant Jessica Walsh in the face. Days later, when Private First Class Wichowski was adjusting Sergeant Walsh’s helmet for the night vision attachment, he accidently dropped the helmet and realized that something had cut into his hand, which was now bleeding. After examining the helmet, Wichowski found a jagged piece of shrapnel lodged in the helmet right at the location that protects the left temple. If Sergeant Walsh had not been wearing the helmet properly, she would have been instantly killed by that small piece of shrapnel.
The 143rd in Iraq Description:
THE 143rd IN IRAQ is the historical account of a Connecticut National Guard Military Police Company’s attempt to recruit, train and prepare an Iraqi Police Force in 2003-2004. From training for desert conditions in upstate New York in the dead of winter without winter gear, to driving through the night into the morning, trying find Baghdad using pieces of a map puzzle, to entering war zones without the required soldiers, weapons or ammo, Marc Youngquist shares how the 143rd Military Police Company did what they could to fulfill their mission in spite of it all.
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