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Bradley crew survives IED blast

By Staff Sgt. Mark Wojciechowski

MUQDADIYAH, Iraq (Army News Service, Jan. 31, 2006) – Using the right protective gear and exercising good patrolling discipline meant the difference between life or death for a Bradley crew returning from a night mission Jan. 25.

The Bradley Section of A Troop, 1st Battalion, 32nd Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division, was hit by a 155mm artillery shell rigged as an improvised explosive device. The IED was detonated as the second Bradley was passing.

“It started as a little flash and then everything just exploded, sending dirt and shrapnel everywhere,” said Pfc. Robert Conley, turret gunner. Conley was protected by thick glass blast shields.

The blast blew three skirts off of the lower portion of the Bradley, peppered the whole right side of the vehicle and shattered one of the 2-inch-thick panels of protective glass around the turret.

One Soldier received a shrapnel wound to the hand and a few of the crew members were bumped around a bit, but not many people live to tell about a blast of this magnitude, officials said. They said the potential kill radius from this type of IED is about 75 meters.

“All I heard was a pop and I saw light flash in through the periscopes, and then the cabin started filling up with smoke,” said Sgt. Steve Adams. Adams was riding inside the targeted Bradley.

Turret gunners are more exposed to hazards, unit leaders said. They said surviving this attack was evidence that staying below the blast shields can save lives.

(Editor’s note: Staff Sgt. Mark Wojciechowski serves with the 133rd MPAD.)

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