FORWARD OPERATING BASE MASUM GHAR, AFGHANISTAN
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MASUM GHAR, Afghanistan -- Tall and muscular, Cpl. Matt Martin looks a little out of place hunched over a laptop in his role as the training room NCO for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Martin, a native of St. Louis, started the deployment as a grenadier in 3rd platoon, walking patrols in the Horn of Panjwa’i, one of the most volatile and dangerous areas in Southern Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Shortly after arriving in Afghanistan, Martin was out on patrol near the village of Lakani in the Horn of Panjwa’i when he stepped on a pressure plate, setting off an antipersonnel mine.
“I had picked up a large signature with the [mine detector] so I was turning around when the IED went off,” said Martin. “I got lucky, it could have been a lot worse.”
The blast sent shrapnel into the right side of his face and right arm.
Martin was bleeding from shrapnel wounds and temporarily blinded in his right eye.
“I didn’t want a MEDEVAC, because we knew they were watching and I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they’d wounded one of us,” said Martin.
After being treated by the medics at Forward Operating Base Zangabad, it was only 2 weeks and Martin was out on patrol again, close to the same area.
After clearing a village, 3rd platoon was on its way back to FOB Zangabad when they were hit by an ambush, taking fire from 3 sides.
While returning fire, Martin was shot in the left leg.
Martin spent a month at the ROLE 3 medical facility at Kandahar Airfield recovering.
"They had the resources at [Kandahar Airfield] for me to do physical therapy and recover. For me, going home wasn't really an option, I didn't deploy just to go home three months later," said Martin. “Once I got back to Sperwan Ghar, the option was presented to me to go home, but I said no. I just wanted to stay because I knew I could still work and help out.”
“They told me I couldn’t go back out, but if I can’t be out in the fight I can still contribute to the mission and help the guys that are out there,” said Martin who now tracks company operations at FOB Zangabad in Panjwa’i district, Afghanistan.
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This work, Martin continues to serve, by SGT Michael Blalack, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.