For U.S. troops who survived Kabul airport disaster, guilt and grief endure
This is a challenging but necessary read. We can never forget. The article also includes a #podcast with input from those that survived. It is raw and a unedited account of what happened in the days before and after the suicide bombing that cost 13 American lives.
I have followed Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews rehabilitation journey on Instagram. It definitely humbles you and demonstrates pure grit that many will never endure and hell many will never meet
We owe them all and there is still a lot to be done for our veterans daily. See Flanders Fields to help.
Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews a 24-year-old, Folsom, Calif., climbed down from the tower a short time before the explosion went off and suffered catastrophic wounds in the blast. He has undergone 43 surgeries since, losing his right arm, left leg, left kidney, and parts of his intestines and colon. At least 15 metal fragments remain embedded in his body, he said, silent reminders of the day he almost died.
A memory from a few days before the explosion sticks with the Marine, as he continues physical therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical outside Washington. In the crowd at Abbey Gate, he spotted a sobbing girl in tattered clothes, maybe 8 years old. She held an infant in one arm and the hand of a boy about 4 years old in her other hand. The baby wasn’t breathing.
Vargas-Andrews said he hustled the infant, who was turning blue, to an Air Force medic, and they resuscitated the baby. But the girl continued to cry.
He scrambled to a higher perch on top of a vehicle, and spotted a man with his head in his hands. It was the children’s father. The man had paperwork needed to evacuate but had been separated from his children in the melee. Their family was reunited moments later.
Vargas-Andrews said the moment was “huge for me,” his voice thickening with emotion as he recalled it.
“I look at my injuries every day,” he said. “And that one family, they have a life now. And that’s something that won’t be taken away from them.”
He shifted his weight in his chair, a prosthetic leg beneath him.
“You know,” he said, “there were a lot of moments like that out there, and it makes it worth it. It makes all this worth it.” 🇺🇸
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