Soldier lost his foot but still
Brig Josiah Mrashui (left) with Lt David Wendo who was injured in Operation Linda Nchi in Somalia at the Langata Barracks on Saturday during a ceremony for returning KDF solders. Photo/SALATON NJAU NATION
By DAVE OPIYO
Sept. 10, 2012
His story would send chills down the spines of many, but for Lieutenant David Wendo, these are occupational hazards that any soldier must prepare to pay in defence of country.
On Saturday, he was at the Lang’ata Barracks in Nairobi to welcome back home colleagues, whom he had gallantly fought alongside, against the ragtag militia, Al Shabaab, in Somalia.
Even though the mission to wipe out the militia is far from over, he is proud to have played his role. He only wished that he were still there to see its conclusion.
But as fate would have it, this was not possible and he had to return home earlier than usual.
On July 27, he led a group of soldiers in transporting basic supplies to colleagues in the town of Fafadun situated in the Northern sector in Somalia.
They left the town of Busar and had travelled 38 kilometres. Only five kilometres remained to the town of Fafade, the point at which the supplies would be picked up.
As the commander, he was required to lead from the front. His vehicle was trailing a Somali military truck.
All was well until their journey was terminated by a huge explosion. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. An explosive device that had been planted on the road went off after it was run over by his vehicle.
It ripped through the floor of the car and hit the spot where his right foot was. Other fragments hit his neck and right eye.
“I laugh when people tell me sorry because of my foot. But the real injury was on my neck. The fragments missed an artery. It could have killed me. The fragments were also lodged on my eyeball,” he said.
Despite the fact that he was badly injured, other soldiers looked up to him for direction as their commander.
“As long as you are still breathing, you are still the commander, and all the soldiers still look up to you for direction,” he told the Nation.
“I quickly said a prayer since I’m a man of faith. Then I tried to move my right foot, I could not feel it. Then I touched it and all I could see was blood gushing out. It then hit me that I had lost it.”
Lt Wendo radioed his colleagues informing them of what had occurred. He then gathered the strength, ordered his soldiers to fire, in order to ward off any ambush attacks that might have been planned by the enemy and secure the area.
“All this time I was bleeding. As this went on, I removed my boots and inspected the wound. It was not pretty. That was the most difficult part. My upper limb was out.”
His colleagues then came to the rescue. His section commander came with two soldiers and undertook a quick fast aid on him. He removed his boots and socks and assessed his injury. He pointed out to the soldiers where they should tie and he was carried out of the vehicle.
No one else in the vehicle was hurt except the driver who had superficial wounds.
Reinforcements were called in from the receivers of the supplies who were only five kilometres away.
He was eventually evacuated and brought to Nairobi, where he was admitted to the Forces Memorial Hospital’s intensive care unit for six weeks as he underwent specialised treatment.
He describes his time in Somalia as “awesome” but humbling.
“If you compare what we have in Kenya and what is there in Somalia, you can no longer take things for granted. We should thank God for what we have,” he said.
So much time has passed since then, but the pain is still etched on his face. He says despite the fact that he was injured in the battle, his resolve to remain a Kenya Defence Forces soldier is stronger than ever. But he will now serve in a different capacity.
“There are so many departments I can serve in the force. I have spoken to a few people, including the commandant of the forces memorial, one of the most inspiring people. He told me to first concentrate on healing before we embark on another task.”
At the event, he was clad in a light brown suit and a white shirt. Just next to him was a pair of crutches. His right leg was heavily strapped in bandages. His foot was missing.
But Lt Wendo did not appear bogged down by the serious injury. The 2005 graduate of Environmental Studies at Maseno University talked heartily with everyone.
Source: Daily Nation
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