Please join us on Saturday November 11th for a Veterans Day Hero WOD. This year we will be honoring SFC Andrew Baxter and his actions on 19 May 2007.
While on patrol on route Tampa white platoon lead by SGT Schumanns lead truck was hit by a multi-angled explosively formed penetrator (EFP) which was the weapon of choice those days. These EFPs would be disguised so well that we wouldn’t recognize them as roadside bombs at all. Most of the time they were made so well they just looked like part of the curb or road. They were extremely well made and hidden. Sometimes, if they were put in during the day they would give off a heat signature that could be picked up from forward looking inferred (FLR) but, not always. This EFP had a number of “heads” that when detonated the melted copper would puncture the up-armored truck like a hot knife through butter striking Sgt Shumann, the gunner in the face and head and setting the truck on fire immediately. At the same time, the 5 truck which is the last truck in the convoy had SFC Baxter as truck commander (TC) and the medic whom was struck by another roadside IED hitting the medic and taking out two tires. Our platoon then took intermittent small arms fire. SFC Baxter and the medic are responsible for evacuating any wounded personnel but seeing that the medic is now a casualty Baxter had to work alone as we handled the rest of the small arms fire. Picture 5 up-armored HMMWVs on RTE Tampa (which at one time was labeled the most dangerous road in the world) each truck about 30 meters apart making the entire convoy of 5 trucks almost 150 meters in length with the first truck almost completely engulfed in flames and the last truck out of commission and the medic injured in the back. Baxter had to triage the wounded before trying to MEDEVAC anyone. While I called for quick reaction forces which given our location there was nothing “quick” about it. They actually got there about an hour after we needed them. So now Baxter had to get 3 wounded guys from two different trucks spread about 150m apart while taking small arms fire. (please don’t picture some ridiculous ambush you see on TV, it wasn’t that dramatic) intermittent small arms fire from a few hundred meters away at night is just as scary though. He created a triage about 50 meters off the side of the road in a ditch that gave him cover. The hard part though, and this is why he got the bronze star with valor, was sprinting the length of the convoy numerous times, going in and out of burning vehicles, under small arms fire, to get the wounded to triage. By the end of all this we had a HMMWV that burned completely to the ground, one KIA and two wounded. We finally got the dustoff we needed to get the casualties out and some QRF.
So, on this Veterans Day we’re going to honor my Platoon SGT, SFC Baxter (staff sergeant at the time) for his incredible efforts during this ambush.
Thanks to all the Veterans at CFW for your service and sacrifice.
3×5 @ 75%
Power Snatch (135/95)