Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Michael Yon on the grapes of war and a battlefield death in Afghanistan

Michael Yon has a strong account of the death of a comrade, as well as some of the prettiest photographs of grapes I’ve ever seen: Chazray was terribly wounded and had been thrown and landed on his face. The platoon was staggered yet kept their bearing. There was no light, and the nightvision devices were ...

Michael Yon in Afghanistan
Michael Yon in Afghanistan
Michael Yon in Afghanistan

Michael Yon has a strong account of the death of a comrade, as well as some of the prettiest photographs of grapes I've ever seen:

Chazray was terribly wounded and had been thrown and landed on his face. The platoon was staggered yet kept their bearing. There was no light, and the nightvision devices were useless in the thick dust. Sergeant Wooden called out the names of his men in the darkness. Near the detonation, nobody could see each other. Sergeant Wooden called the names, and he called, "Clark!" Chazray was facedown. One arm was gone and his legs were gone, and yet this man had the strength and presence to call out from the dust and darkness saying he was okay. Chazray could still hear. Chazray answered, "I'm okay," and Sergeant Wooden said his voice sounded completely normal. Just normal Chazray. But everyone here knows that when someone calls out and says they are okay, the sound of their voice only means they are still alive. They found Chazray and put on tourniquets and unfolded a stretcher. I was not in the dust and could see brave men carrying him back over dangerous ground and Chazray said his arm tourniquet was too tight. He was in great pain. Through nightvision I could see an Afghan Soldier rush in to help carry Chazray.

Rest in Peace, Chazray Clark. 

Michael Yon has a strong account of the death of a comrade, as well as some of the prettiest photographs of grapes I’ve ever seen:

Chazray was terribly wounded and had been thrown and landed on his face. The platoon was staggered yet kept their bearing. There was no light, and the nightvision devices were useless in the thick dust. Sergeant Wooden called out the names of his men in the darkness. Near the detonation, nobody could see each other. Sergeant Wooden called the names, and he called, "Clark!" Chazray was facedown. One arm was gone and his legs were gone, and yet this man had the strength and presence to call out from the dust and darkness saying he was okay. Chazray could still hear. Chazray answered, "I’m okay," and Sergeant Wooden said his voice sounded completely normal. Just normal Chazray. But everyone here knows that when someone calls out and says they are okay, the sound of their voice only means they are still alive. They found Chazray and put on tourniquets and unfolded a stretcher. I was not in the dust and could see brave men carrying him back over dangerous ground and Chazray said his arm tourniquet was too tight. He was in great pain. Through nightvision I could see an Afghan Soldier rush in to help carry Chazray.

Rest in Peace, Chazray Clark. 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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