IED blasts Marines: 'I thought we got hit by a rocket'

IED blasts Marines: 'I thought we got hit by a rocket' »Play Video
MRAPs cost a half million bucks when fully equipped. No one was hurt when an IED hit this one.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MARJAH, Afghanistan - The IED blew up the second vehicle just before midday.

The charge, estimated to be 100 pounds, was almost certainly command detonated.

You could hear the dull thump of the explosion as the charge, buried probably no more than a foot or so under soft sand, erupted into an enormous geyser of black and white smoke mixed with the light brown dirt and sand.

Totally engulfed in the explosive cloud, the vehicle disappeared from view.

The dust slowly cleared and the vehicle became visible. Although leaning to the right, from the rear it seemed mostly intact.

Within a minute, radio traffic revealed that all the Marines were unharmed.

PHOTO GALLERY: Images from the IED aftermath

The gunner, exposed in the open turret on top the mine resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle, had banged his head when the IED rocked the vehicle, but he was fine.

The MRAPs, manufactured by Osh Kosh, cost nearly half a million dollars when fully outfitted. 

The money is well spent.

Marines quickly established security and began the well-trained response procedures.

“I thought we got hit by a rocket,” said LCpl. Petrisor.

LCpl. Sharkey, who was the gunner and therefore the most exposed and vulnerable of the Marines in the vehicle said, “I remember turning and looking and seeing about five or six little kids standing on top a garage watching us. The next thing you know, boom!”

“This time on the IED we pretty much got lucky,” said  HM3 “Doc” Hart, the corpsman. “Thank God nobody, uh… We got little cuts, little bruises, but everybody safely made it out.”

FOB Marjah was notified, and a tow truck was dispatched. 

It was a blistering hot day, and the Marines not standing security relaxed in the shade behind a tall mud wall.

After about an hour, small arms fire erupted from a field just off the road, the Taliban targeting the Marines standing security. As quickly as it started, it ended.

An explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team arrived and swept the areas for possible additional IEDs.  None were found.

So the truck was damaged, but no one was injured in the incident, and that’s the most important thing.

The tow truck eventually arrived and hooked up the damaged vehicle, and we simply made our way back to FOB Marjah.

Dan Morrison and Cali Bagby are embedded with the Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan, north of the Pakistani border, as multimedia journalists for KVAL News.

Morrison teaches photojournalism and multimedia reporting at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Ore.

Bagby is a freelance multimedia journalist who spent 10 months embedded with the Oregon National Guard in Iraq for KVAL.com.