April 27, 2011

Two IED blasts can't stop BLT 3/8 Marine

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan "I think psychologically it started to get to me. It was like, all right I just stepped on an IED again; I've got to be hurt. There's no way I'm not hurt. ... How many guys do you hear that step on two IEDs in one deployment?"

That he wasn't hurt is one of the enigmas surrounding U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. William Schultz. As lead engineer during more than 100 patrols with Company L, Battalion Landing Team 3/8, Regimental Combat Team 8, Schultz is credited with discovering more than 50 Improvised Explosive Devices in the BLT's approximate 90-day operational period in Helmand province. BLT 3/8 had been conducting counterinsurgency operations there since January. Two of Schultz's IEDs were discovered the hard way.

"We're not even 100 yards away; I can see the whole thing," said Gunnery Sgt. John Foster, platoon sergeant of 1st Platoon, Company L, speaking of the day Schultz stepped on his second IED. "I link up with this element, and he's standing on the road and he's just looking at me. ... I'm like 'How's it going? What's up?' I already knew what happened. ... He's like, 'It's fine. It's good. I think I broke my foot.' He's just standing there looking at it. And then just walks back on his own, never puts any gear down, no problems. They made him not work the next day." It is a theater requirement after blast exposure to receive a 24 hour rest break.

One might think the law of averages and sheer volume give credit to Schultz's ability to discover IEDs, but those who've worked with him attribute it to something else. Considering that for Schultz to serve as lead engineer on more than 100 security patrols in a 90-day period and that patrols didn't take place every one of those 90 days, Schultz would have had to patrol every day a patrol took place and multiple times on many of those days. (READ MORE)

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