CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq -- The improvised explosive devices are unbiased in their targets. It can kill and maim anyone who sets it off, regardless of nationality, religious preference, age or sex.
Cpl. Fabricio D. Drummond, an antitank assault man with 1st Mobile Assault Platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, witnessed such disregard.
“We were escorting (Combat Engineers) with dump trucks filled with gravel being taken to (Battle Position) Iwo Jima,” said Drummond, a native of Leominster, Mass. “After about an hour, my gunner heard an explosion nearby.”
Not soon after the explosion, which occurred in the Iraqi town of Sa’dah where 1st MAP was operating, Drummond gets word from his superiors to check it out.
“We started moving down and as soon as we took a right, an Iraqi woman comes out in the street crying,” Drummond said.
Drummond stepped out of the vehicle and began to talk to the woman, using skills he learned in a crash course on speaking Arabic before deploying.
“She told me a bomb blew up,” he said.
Right thereafter Drummond was faced with what some might consider a living nightmare. Iraqi men, fathers, carried out their children who had allegedly been injured by an insurgent buried IED.
“They told me the kids had been out playing soccer when it happened,” Drummond said.
According to Drummond, the children had laceration and puncture wounds to their lower extremities. The scene was a chaotic mess of wounded children and screaming and crying parents and concerned local Iraqi’s.
“I immediately got my combat lifesaver bag and started going through the larger wounds," said Drummond. "Some had arteries had broken."
"There was a lot of blood,” he said.
Drummond, a 23-year-old 2000 graduate of Maynard High School, started patching up the kids as fellow members of his platoon arrived.
“We called in a (medical evacuatio) helicopter for them. All the while, I kept pressure on their wounds to stop the bleeding,” he said.
While the MEDEVAC helicopter made it’s way to them, Drummond, along with the Marines of 1st MAP, took the kids to the nearest major road to await the flight. According to Drummond, when the helicopter arrived the children were loaded up, along with a parent, and flown to a nearby hospital for further treatment.
“The biggest thing I tried to do was to keep them smiling. I can’t imagine how much it must have hurt,” he said. “They were just little kids, seven or eight years old. They were innocent, never did anything to anyone. They just wanted to play.”
Drummond accredits his ability to effectively use basic first aid to the classes he received before deploying.
“We got a lot of first aid classes over and over again and sometimes it got boring,” he said. “But, I listened to the corpsmen teaching ‘cause I had a feeling I might have to use it. Every Marine is a rifleman, and every Marine should know first aid.”