Michael's Dispatches

Purple Heart

image001-1000PFC Leah Bartlett awarded Purple Heart

09 March 2012

Reaction to the recent Koran burnings led to dozens of killings.  Some of the attacks were obviously related to the burnings, while others may have been normal background noise of war.  Whatever the specific motivations, bombs still explode hard, and bullets still fly fast.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a blast in Nangarhar Province:

Afghan Taliban set off car   bomb at Jalalabad airport

“A Taliban suicide car bomber has killed at least nine   people and wounded 10 others in an attack at Jalalabad airport in eastern Afghanistan.

“The insurgents said the bombing was in revenge for a Koran-burning incident at a US air base near Kabul a week ago.

“The burning, which the US says was unintentional, has sparked violent protests across the country.”

PFC Bartlett was among the wounded.  Her father, veteran Randy Bartlett emailed:

“Just talked to her Mom. She's been evac'd to Bagram to the CSH [Combat Support Hospital].  She was in the turret of the MRAP when a black SUV popped out of traffic and went barreling toward the gate.  Before anyone could do anything, it detonated.  She was blown backward into the rear of the turret and injured her back as well as having both eardrums blown out.  Another kid, just arrived, was with her.  He took some fragments but will be OK.  Said she woke up on the ground and the gate was gone.  Apparently they secured it quickly enough that there was no further drama.

“Her Mom said she sounded as good as can be expected. She'll be there a couple of weeks then back to her unit to redeploy.”

PFC Bartlett and her buddies have earned their Purple Hearts, but there is a joke among the troops: “I don’t want the free fishing license, or the free license plate, or any scars to brag about.”

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