By lex, on February 16th, 2011
Having read the Sigacts summaries back when I was on active duty, I was routinely impressed with the quiet professionalism of the heroes from explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD. When the story of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are finally told, they would be the unsung heroes.
But one among their number was recently awarded the nation’s third highest award for combat valor:
It was approaching midnight Sept. 7, 2009, at the Malmand Bazaar in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when the leader of an explosives disposal team was horribly wounded after stepping on a pressure-activated IED — an improvised explosive device — buried in the dirt.
Gerardo Sosa, 29, of Garden Grove, a Navy explosive ordnance disposal chief, had been out ahead and doubled back to help his teammate. He tried to stop the flow of blood by tying tourniquets around what remained of his friend’s legs.
“He was bleeding out,” Sosa remembered Monday. “We had to get him out fast.”
But Sosa soon found a second IED nearby and realized he and his team were trapped in the dark in the middle of a minefield.
For the next 20 to 30 minutes, crawling on his hands and knees, Sosa methodically cleared a 200-yard path out of the bazaar that his teammates then used to carry the wounded sailor out.
When Hollywood tries to tell this story, there are twisted personalities and “war is a drug” super-statements. In real life, there’s a chief petty officer sweating in the dark dirt of some foreign bazaar, desperately trying to clear a path for an injured comrade.
Also awarded Silver Stars during SecNav’s west coast tour were two Navy SEALs, SWOCS Jared Tuxill, and SWOC Joseph Molina.
You probably saw the narrative of their heroics on CNN, no?