SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/16/2011)(readMedia)-- When Senior Airman Evan Stevens first heard the explosion, he thought it was incoming fire and a possible ambush, so he took cover.
Stevens, who has been a member of the 183rd Fighter Wing's Security Forces Squadron in Springfield for the past four years, was 100 meters outside the gate of Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan conducting a presence patrol early one May morning.
Staff Sgt. Russell Logan, of the 164th Airlift Wing's Security Forces Squadron in Memphis, Tenn., stepped on an anti-personnel mine causing the explosion. The field had been established as cleared.
"I didn't realize he was alive until I heard him scream," said Stevens.
Stevens was the team's lead combat life saver and with his alternate, Senior Airman Yanick Koenig, of the 143rd Airlift Wing's Security Forces Squadron in Quonset Point, R.I., together administered first aid to Logan.
"We saw that his left leg had been amputated by the land mine and immediately started going through the individual first aid kit for tourniquets."
They applied a tourniquet to each leg, said Stevens. Logan also had wounds to his stomach and other areas.
"I saw black dirt and a white light," said Logan. "I didn't know I was hurt, but only felt pressure."
Stevens and Koenig applied the necessary bandages and were ready to move Logan's stretcher when a second mine exploded. Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell, a dog handler from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, had stepped on another land mine and lost his foot due to the explosion.
"We were a little confused and slowly began to figure out that we were standing in a mine field," said Stevens.
With only one stretcher, a couple team members, including Staff Sgt. Christopher Mazrim of the 183rd Security Forces Squadron, moved Seekell as the team walked a straight line back out the way they had entered, said Stevens.
"In those situations, seconds count and if you practice with your medical supplies and know where everything is, the better off you will be," said Stevens. "That day we learned that placement and practice is beyond vital."
Logan was evacuated to Germany within a few days of the detonation and had nine surgeries. He was released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Oct. 11 and is back to work at the 164th.
Stevens, of Rochester, returned from his deployment in early October with his 13-man security forces team and reunited with Logan at the Enlisted Leadership Symposium in Nashville Tenn., Nov. 1.
"I got to see him again in much better shape than the last time I saw him," said Stevens.
Logan said it was one of the worst situations, yet one of the best things that has happened to him.
"It showed me what life really means," said Logan, who has a 21-month-old daughter at home.
The two Airmen plan to stay in touch and remain tied through their experience overseas.