Soldier survives ambush with RPG stuck inside gut

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  1. Soldier survives with grenade in his gut
    May 12, 2006. 12:21 AM

    FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) — Insurgents shot three rocket propelled grenades into Pvt. Channing Moss' Humvee during his patrol in Afghanistan, but he only heard two explosions.

    The third rocket was sticking out of his gut.

    "I didn't even know I was hit at first. It was numb," Moss said Thursday from his bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "I looked down, saw the rocket in me and went into shock.''

    If the rocket had exploded Moss would have been killed. But he is alive, and with a tale of survival that seems to have vaulted from a Hollywood script.

    "That's the spirit of the 10th Mountain soldier," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, 10th Mountain Division commander, Thursday, in a video-teleconference from Afghanistan. At the end of the general's hour-long news conference, which mostly discussed the recent helicopter crash that claimed 10 soldiers in Afghanistan, Freakley told the dramatic story of saving Private Moss.

    It happened in mid-March, when Moss — a Georgia native and part of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry — was on a patrol near the border of Pakistan. Suddenly, three rocket-propelled grenades hit his Humvee, shearing off the front window. Freakley said a staff sergeant, seated in the front, suffered a severe wound to the face. The unit returned fire, with Moss, perched above the Humvee, blasting away with his Mark 19 grenade launcher.

    And then he fell. An RPG had struck Moss in the side and lodged in his abdomen, poking out of his thigh.

    Moss said the medic was in the Humvee and started to treat him right away. "We could see the tail fins hanging out of my body," he said. ``By the grace of God it didn't go off. I had the detonator and the explosive materials in my body.''

    "The medic saw the RPG fin sticking out of Private Moss's body, and realized, hey, this grenade can blow up and kill more people,'' Freakley said. "The medic started trying to save Private Moss's life, and he thought that helicopter pilots wouldn't probably be real prone to loading a guy with an RPG in his back end into a helicopter, so he wrapped up the whole projectile, and they carried Private Moss to a landing zone.

    "A helicopter pilot - very bravely - flew into the landing zone and picked up Private Moss. They continued to keep him alive and flew him to a forward surgical team.''

    Members of the surgical team were stunned when they cut off Moss's clothing and saw the fin of the RPG sticking out of him. "The doctor said, 'Everybody get out of here! There is a grenade in this guy's body,'" Freakley said.

    They summoned an x-ray technician and an explosive ordnance specialist.

    "The doctor cleared the OR (operating room), and kept one volunteer," Freakley said. "They put on helmets, they put on body vests, and they removed the rocket-propelled grenade from Private Moss.'' Moss said he was conscious during the trip to the medical facility. "I was awake until they said 'everyone get out!' that's when I was like 'I'm gonna die right here. No one's going to work on me. I blacked out. I thought I was dead. About two days later I hear this woman calling my name. It was like the sweetest voice I've ever heard in my life. I took the deepest breath in the world. I was like 'Man, I'm still alive,'" he said.

    After a series of operations, Moss was airlifted to Bagram Airbase for more surgery. The Army later flew him to Germany for yet more operations. "When Private Moss awoke in Germany from his surgery, he gripped the doctor's hand," Freakley said. "Private Moss is a big man, and he gripped the doctor's hand and said, "Hey, I'm going to walk all right, because I can feel my feet.''

    Moss is slated to receive the Army's Purple Heart award on June 1.

    "I feel good now, just happy to be alive every day, spiritually, emotionally, just soaking up life. I'm sleeping good at night, no nightmares, so I'm blessed.'' Moss said his wife, Lorena, and his 21-month-old daughter, Juliana, have helped him get through the pain. "My wife has been my backbone. I thought she was going to have a hard time; she's 8 months pregnant," he said. "That's my inspiration.''
  2. One lucky lucky bar steward!
  3. He certainly had luck on his side, and those involved in his evacuation and initial operation have big brass cojones!
  4. Many years ago I saw a magazine article with some pictures from South Africa. A soldier had been hit by an RPG which was stuck in his chest. The x-ray pics were quite dramatic.

    The article was about how they removed the live warhead from his chest. Apparently the operating theatre staff consisted of a volunteer surgeon, and nurse and an ATO.

    End result was device removed and disposed of, and soldier survived.

    Interestingly enough the soldier was black, so obviously the ATO and others were not as racist as the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would have us believe.
  5. That's what I thought, that surgeon was one hell of a man. The tension must've been so thick you could cut it with a knife.
  6. If I remember the details of Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden correctly, wasn't there a similar occurence involving an RPG warhead in Somalia?

    There was considerable comradeship between black and white soldiers in the old South African Defence Force - a fact that is often conveniently forgotten.
  7. Unfortunatly the chap with the rpg in black hawk down dieded though they did their best to save him .
  8. Ah yes, that's right - he was hit whilst sitting in a Humvee if I recall. It does show that it is possible - depending on the circumstances - to at least initally survive an RPG impact though.
  9. That pretty amazing, wonder how much damage was done! Good luck to the bloke on his recovery.

    On a lighter note, you'd ask for a peice of the RPG that was removed..... you'd have to!! Hell of souvenier!
  10. Are they sure? :D
  11. Lucky guy.

    I feel like I have an RPG in my gut sometimes.

    Usually on a Sunday morning when I first force my eyes open and start calculating the the bed-toilet distance.
  12. Hats off to the Medic, pilot and the medical staff at the OR. Balls! I'll say. Great big brass ones!

    Hope the lucky guy comes out of this with no real permanent harm.
  13. Well, if an RPG hits you and does not explode, it only equates to a big lump of fast metal hitting you!

    Like coming off a bike and bashing a lamppost I guess.

    It's the explosion which would kill you if your noggin doesn't get detached!

    But, getting back to the report..... I didn't think they had it in them! Hats off!!!