Undeterred Soldier Returns to Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sgt. Gene Arnold   
Thursday, 10 January 2013 08:54
January 09, 2013
by Sgt. Gene Arnold
American Forces Press Service

An explosive ordnance disposal technician from Fort Drum, N.Y., is back in the country where he almost lost his life two years ago.

In March 2011, Wentzell was deployed to Regional Command South, where he cleared improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance...

Just days after the birth of his daughter, the unthinkable happened. A flash of light, heat and a sudden jolt of energy threw his body backward. He'd stepped on an anti-personnel mine attached to a 25-gallon jug packed with homemade explosives. The mine exploded, but the jug didn't. Still, Wentzell broke his tibia, fibula, heel, ankle and toes, and he was medically evacuated.

"When I came to, I was angry; I wouldn't be able to keep my guys safe," Wentzell said. "I got depressed, because I was leaving my dudes. I knew I could keep them safe -- I wasn't sure about the next guy."

But he added that he considers himself lucky, noting that others had been killed or had lost limbs in explosions of similar mines.

The recovery process was long and hard, Wentzell said, but wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. He credits his determination and fighting spirit for cutting down his recovery time.

Now deployed to Regional Command East, Wentzell said he has decided not to allow that one accident to define him.

"I decided to come back here because I felt my time was cut short and I needed to do this," he said.
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