CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Marines from Company A, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion were recently hit with a roadside bomb while convoying back to Camp Fallujah. Thanks to the protective gear the Marines wore, there were no fatalities.
Lance Cpl. Pascual Solis’ vehicle, a five-ton wrecker, was hit by a bomb that sent shrapnel flying in all directions. A few small pieces penetrated the cab of the wrecker and struck the 2002 graduate of Ridgeview High School in the rear body armor plate and another bounced off his neck protector and caught in the strap of his Kevlar helmet.
“We were driving along in our convoy and my initial reaction to the whole thing was that my vehicle got a flat tire, but I asked my assistant driver and he told me that it was a bomb,” the 21-year-old, Bakersfield, Calif., native said. “After a second of being disoriented I quickly got my vehicle out of the kill zone so as not to be hit if a secondary bomb exploded.”
When he stopped the vehicle, Solis got out and headed toward the Corpsman because his left arm was bleeding and he had a sharp pain in his back.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul V. Alde examined Solis finding a tear in the back of his flack jacket. Alde quickly removed the vest to see how deep the shrapnel had penetrated. Finding no break in Solis’ skin, he evacuated him to the medical facilities at Camp Fallujah while the rest of the Marines conducted a cordon and search of the area for the triggerman.
“It was a good thing that Solis was wearing all of his protective gear because of where some of the shrapnel hit his neck protector and embedded in the leather strap underneath his Kevlar helmet,” said 1st Sgt. Thomas S. Cluen, Company A 1st Sergeant. “With out all the gear he had on at the time, Solis could be in much worse shape than some minor cuts and bruises.”
Solis was under observation for that evening and given a week of light duty to let his wounds heal.
“This was my first bomb experience,” Solis stated.
As soon as Solis gets off light duty he will rejoin his fellow Marines with the mission of supporting Regimental Combat Team – 8 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Solis is a vital member of our team, being one of two logistic vehicle system operators for the whole company,” said Cluen.