Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Corporal Tony Mullis Story

The day, April 6, started out like all other days for Cpl. Tony Mullis and his fellow Marines, with the exception that Tony had learned the day before on the fifth that he had become a father to a

The due date for his wife, Jeanie was to be April 6, but little Cason Mullis had a different idea and came quickly into his new world, a few hours before. His father, a Marine Combat Engineer found out around eight o’clock that night which was around noon in Hawkinsville. He was able to call his wife on her cell phone and talk to her right away. In addition, he got another treat as she held the phone near her newborn son so Tony was able to hear him making baby noises. Admittedly, Mullis said it was one of the greatest thrills of his life to hear his son across thousands of miles.
It was a happy thought for Tony to sleep on that night. The group of Marines fell out for chow prior to going on their duty assignment of locating and destroying IEDs which means Improvised Explosive Devices, the number one weapon of choice of the Afghans and Iraqi forces. Primarily, it is made up of unexploded bombs or newly created ones and then hidden from sight in well traveled places by the Marine Forces.
On April 6 in 2011, Cpl. Mullis was on point—meaning the first of his group—marching determinedly ahead to try to locate IEDs which had been planted in the dirt of the roads or huts they were inspecting based on intelligence they had received showing an extra amount of activity around the huts which were usually occupied by farmers.
To get a better understanding of the geography, one must realize that Afghanistan huts may be located within mud walls which may be as large as a city block. The huts, themselves, usually are small, about one or two rooms, and the land is shared with other hut owners for the purpose of raising crops and animals. The walls are their way of saying to others, including our military forces, to keep away and leave them alone.

But on this day, the troops had information that there had been an unusual amount of suspicious activity and it required some on site investigation. As a Marine Combat Engineer, Tony Mullis took the first moves toward the mud walls and quickly, but carefully scaled it to begin his probing search. In his hand was a long probe which he used to try to safely locate a hidden IED. “So far so good,” Mullis thought as he walked stealthily around the hut and inside, finding nothing. Just before walking out to give the thumbs up sign to his comrades, something caught his eye on the dirt floor near a window. He walked slowly inspecting the ground carefully before he both felt and heard a click. Before, he could move, the IED exploded throwing him upward to the ceiling and just as quickly casting him down to the floor. Instantly he knew he was injured, but not to what extent. He looked at his right arm and noticed it had been ripped open with shrapnel, leaving bone and flesh exposed from his elbow to his hand. The next sound was his voice yelling as loud as he could, “I’m hit! I’m hit!” It was then he took a quick look to inventory himself. His legs felt like they were in a hole, unattached. He could see that his left leg was ripped away and his right leg was broken and turned to a right angle from his body.
By this time he was located by one of his colleagues who looked at the extent of his injuries and uttered an expletive. “They have called a bird (helicopter) and it shouldn’t be long.
Struggling to keep himself calm, Mullis asked, “How long before the bird gets here?”
“About five minutes!” he was told. He was also told that an officer was injured on the other side of the mud wall, but it may only be a concussion.

Outside of the wall, his Marine leaders affixed a bomb in the mud wall to blow an opening which would be large enough for them to carry Mullis out to the helicopter. Only moments later, they had him aboard the chopper and began treatment immediately. Morphine was administered for pain and blood transfusions started right away. The helicopter would head to Camp Leatherneck, a small Marine base used for stabilizing the wounded Marines, before sending him to Germany to a hospital within hours. Altogether, he had taken approximately a dozen pints of blood already. In today’s warfare, the speed of getting treatment right away has increased the chances for survival and lessened the Killed in Action fighters. For one thing, the Marines are all equipped with a card in the pocket of their shoulder which shows not only what type of blood as was the case of the old dog tags, but a chip which tells about the entire medical history of the fallen Marine, which increases his chance of survival tremendously.
In Germany for only a day or so, Mullis asked an on duty Contract Nurse if she could send his wife an e-mail requesting a picture of his newly born son. She went off duty before she could complete the request, but Tony asked a second nurse for the favor, and she was successful in retrieving a picture of his son. After a day or so, he was flown to Bethesda Naval Air Station Hospital where he would begin numerous surgeries over the next few months.

Meanwhile, Jeanie, her mother, and some others accompanied her to Maryland where she was able to see her wounded husband. It was the miracle of modern warfare care-giving which literally carried Cpl. Tony Mullis from battlefield injury to his family in four days.
Please read Part Two

1 comment:

Silvia John said...

I did not know that this active camp leatherneck map is the home base of most United States Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan. The base began life as a barren outpost in 2009, but has quickly expanded into a 1,600 acre fairly modern facility that is a military powerhouse in the area.