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Leonel Perez, Charlie 66/67

Purple Heart #2


This was to be a short patrol, just two days. My team mostly took care of the rear, but on this day my team was put up front as point. The idea of running point didn’t thrill me one bit. I had one man up front running point and I was close behind him with my map and compass keeping us on course. We were going up a small hill, a heavy grass area, about 5 to 6 feet high. I was checking out our course when my point man stopped, got down and signal me up. I stopped the rest of the patrol and worked my way up to my point man to see what was up. He said that he kept seeing something in the grass that would shine at times when the sun would hit it just so, but wasn’t sure yet of what it was. I moved just passed him to take a look, when I saw, what looked like a trip wire running thru the grass. All that came to my mind was “Oh Shit, lets get our Asses out of here!” I told him that we were going to work our way back the same way we came in, to follow me. I stepped back passed him to lead the way out, and “Bang” I stepped on the boobie trap. When it blew all I remember was a loud dull explosion and the smell of black power and smoke. I felt vary light and the sky was spinning. I guess that I was in the air only a few seconds, but it seemed like forever. Then I hit the ground hard and rolled down the hill towards a tree line and finally came to a stop. Thru all of this I still didn’t feel any pain. I just lay there on my back with most of the wind knock out of me. Still no real pain, but I knew I was hit, and hurt bad, but how bad I didn’t know yet. I tried to move, but couldn’t move my legs. I tried like hell to get myself up, when I finally managed to sit up. That’s when I think I really lost it. I still remember seeing from my knees down all red with blood, my right foot just split open and a large hole in my left leg. I could hear someone screaming, than I realized it was “me.” I guess that was when panic and shock hit me. I finally got some kind of control of myself. What came to mind next was getting the hell out of here. Then I hear movement around me, and that’s when I really got scare. I started looking around and reaching for my weapon. “No weapon” then I started to panic again. All I could think of was that I’m not going to let those Mother F…k’s get a hold of me, and drag my ass off and cut me all up, no way in hell!! I pulled a frag from my belt and started to pull the pin as I held it against my chest. If those “Mother’s” came out to get me I was taking them all to “hell” with me. As I lay there, scare as hell, ready to meet my maker, I said my good-byes to my parents and my brother. Just than, like a whisper from heaven I heard my name being called out, very softly. I don’t know as of this day who came out to get me, but “bless” him who ever he was. He call my name again, I tried to look back, but I couldn’t see who it was, he just said give me the frag, took it away from me, then he grabbed me by the back of my pack and dragged me up the hill, where I saw Lt. King and the corpsman. I could hear the radioman calling for a medivac chopper. The pain, the fear all started to really set in, all I wanted to do was go “home”. I still remember the corpsman, telling me, as he was getting ready to give me a morphine shot that I was going to feel a small prick from the needle. All that came to mind was “f…k the needle, give me the shot, it’s really starting to hurt like hell! Lt. King stood with me until the chopper came. Off and on with the morphine working on me someone kept asking me, what happen to my point man? I remember seeing him as they found him and brought him in with large bloody holes in both his legs. Then I would fade off and wake back up again. If I remember right I believe that I told the Lt. that I could hear the choppers coming, he said that they weren’t hear yet. And then long and behold there they were, like “Angles” coming from heaven! Then I thought I heard the radioman talking with the choppers that they might have to bring me up on a cable. I remember asking Lt. King to “please” make the chopper land. “Lt. King, you’re alright”, he had the chopper land! Then I remember being picked up and put into a chopper. The gunner looked at me with an “Oh shit” look on his face. The next thing I know I’m in a field hospital with the doctors getting me ready for surgery. They gave me a spinal, then they lay me my on my back. They put this white sheet in front of me, so I couldn’t see my legs. Then this one doctor looked at me and said, “Hey Marine, how are you doing, do you know what happens when you step on these things?” I just looked at him, and I knew for sure that I had lost both my legs. He said that my left leg was going to be “OK” but I did loose my right foot, but you will walk again on your own. Believe it or not, I feared the worst; these were words that put my world back together again. I just said “Thank You” They put the gas mask over my face; I closed my eyes and went into a long peaceful sleep. I made it, I was going “Home”


Cpl. Leonel R. Perez 
1st Recon Charlie Co.