Signature Wound: Hidden Bombs, Heroic Soldiers, and the Shocking, Secret Story of the Afghanistan War Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Every war has its "signature wounds", injuries inflicted by frightening new weapons and tactics the U.S. military has never faced before. Blistered flesh from mustard gas in World War I. Petroleum burns from oil and gas igniting on the surface of the Pacific in World War II. And now, lost legs, hands, and most devastating of all, genitals, as a result of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in today's war in Afghanistan. Men's Health contributing editor Bob Drury, a veteran reporter of both the Afghan and Iraq wars, delivers his most hard-hitting and important dispatch yet - the unforgettable accounts of U.S. soldiers who have suffered these very personal wounds. Their intense tales of battlefield survival are just a prologue to the unimaginable fights they face once they're stateside. This is essential listening for truly understanding what our fighting forces put on the line - and lose - every single day.
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|Listening Length||1 hour and 45 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||December 03, 2014|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #356,704 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#176 in Afghan War
#1,047 in Afghan War Military History
#1,734 in United States Military Veterans History
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Each war has had its own particular scourge. Mustard gas in the Argonne, burning petroleum in the Pacific, Agent Orange in Vietnam. In Afghanistan soldiers are having their genitals blown off by IEDs, which are often crude enough that they maim rather than kill. With devastating results.
Each war has its own signature wound. Also its own argot. In Afghanistan the lingo referring to blast victims includes "AK or BK," which means an amputation above the knee or below. Anything below the knee, the victims bravely dismiss as a "paper cut."
The percentage of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan having limbs amputated, which usually involves some degree of genital wound or infection, is higher than any other conflict including the Civil War. The signature wound occurs most often when a soldier steps on the pressure plate of a homemade explosive, made from common fertilizer. The force of the blast is up, straight into the groin and "into your genital and pelvic regions, carrying with it at supersonic speed tiny shards of rock and dirt . . . Depending on the size of the mine, all or parts of your `package' might be blown off."
The second thing soldiers who are caught in a blast check is their face to make sure they still have ears, nose, lips. Invariably the first thing they do is grab for their penis and determine if everything is intact. The frequency of genital wounds has caused the military to review its benefits program. Currently loss of an ear or thumb, for example, means $50,000 in disability benefits. At present, there's no compensation for losing your penis, testicles or scrotum. Today, soldiers often visit a sperm bank before being deployed, just in case.
Those are some of the clinical and factual aspects of today's signature wound. What's truly wrenching about Drury's account is the personal toll these soldiers are paying and the physical and emotional scars they're living with and trying so valiantly to overcome.
He tells a number of personal stories of some of the men and boys whose lives have been fundamentally altered by their service in Afghanistan. There is a lot of heartbreak in their accounts. Their resilience and fortitude is almost beyond believing.
I was affected most by the stoicism of one young guy, "who looks not much older than 14," back from battle recovering in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. "Oh, I really don't have much to say. Just got blown up is all," he said.
I doubt the American people really understand the sacrifices of our military personnel of the horrific danger of operating in an IED environment. The thought an IED could take your life..or your limb..or multiple limbs is always with you..both in the day and in the darkest moments of sleep.
Remember, all these casualties..with horrific wounds are volunteers....all volunteers with the idealistic approach to doing what is right for humanity and for our country.
The American people and our government owe these wounded warriors whatever they may require..be is housing, education, mentoring, medical care (perhaps forever)..or anything that makes their life alittle easier.
I cannot imagine personally of having lost both limbs..or more. How I would deal with such a wound...only to ask the question(s) of "why" and "was it worth it". This is an answer for each person who served in Iraq or Afghanistan must deal with personally.
I can only say... everyone should understand the depths of despair and pain enduring perhaps forever...
Bless them all..
Afghanistan, Paktia/2003;Iraq/2003; HOA/2002, 2008 & 2010
It is real and hopefully helps you to better understand the consequences of any conflicts in the world. I grew up in an horrible war and saw a lot of spiritual, mental and physical wounds but this reading helped me to see them differently now.
I feel indebted to these warriors. I am profoundly grateful for their sacrifice and for the freedom to write these few lines.
THANK YOU for your services.