Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Perspective: A soldier asks his leaders... 'Why?'

Michael K. Frank

FORT DEFIANCE — A few weeks ago, Spc. Donald Hudson Jr. was driving in a convoy in Baghdad, Iraq, when he heard an explosion come from behind.

An improvised explosive device had hit the fifth truck in Hudson’s group of six, causing it to burst into flames. Over the radio, Hudson heard a fellow soldier beg for help.

"A friend from the sixth truck [was] screaming that the fifth truck was burning up real bad," said Hudson, 21, the son of Julia and Donald Hudson, of Fort Defiance, in a letter. "And that they needed fire extinguishers real bad."

Hudson, driving the first truck in the convoy, said he turned his vehicle around, stopping just short of the burning Humvee. Then, he said, he ripped his fire extinguisher from its holster and tried to help put out the fire.

After dousing the flames, Hudson said, he saw a leg stretched across the front seat. The leg was almost completely severed from the body of Spc. Michael K. Frank, Hudson’s roommate at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad.

When he realized his friend was hurt, Hudson said, he climbed into the truck, grabbed his comrade and dragged him out of the driver’s side door. Then, Hudson said, he and other soldiers put Frank on a stretcher and attempted to give "buddy aid."

"[Frank’s] face had been badly burnt and his skin was hanging off," Hudson, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, recalled in a letter. "His leg was like hamburger meat and swell[ed] to three times its normal size. His foot was facing backwards."

Read the rest at the Rocktown Weekly