It has been almost a year since the withdrawal fiasco from Afghanistan. It was a total cluster “F.” There is no other way to describe it. It was not the fault of those who held the gates at the airport, but that of those at the higher levels. The disgrace of the botched withdrawal continues to echo with the slow and grudging acknowledgement of what those US military, allies, and small groups of loyal Afghan soldiers, involved in the final days of Taliban takeover went through. On 26 August 2021 at Abbey Gate, which was guarded by Marines at Hamid Karzai International Airport, 13 US servicemembers and almost 200 Afghans were killed in a suicide bomb blast. Eleven were Marines, along with one sailor, and a soldier. More than 20 US servicemembers were wounded in that attack, 17 of them were Marines. Now, Marine Sergeant Wyatt Wilson who almost died in the explosion at Abbey Gate has received a well-deserved Bronze Star with “V” for valor. Why did it take a year? You already know the answer.
Many of us served, bled, and lost our friends in Afghanistan not to mention Iraq. Many of us still have visible and invisible scars from our service there. We went there after 9/11 to destroy AQ and their Taliban supporters. We did our part but were hampered by poor strategy and unrealistic military and political objectives. Our military withdrawal was indeed inevitable, but the way it was handled placed US servicemembers and allies in extra jeopardy. At the time Wilson was a Marine Corporal at the gate and he was hit in the suicide bomb blast and grievously wounded. Despite his wounds. Wilson rushed to the aid of another Marine, Corporal Kelsee Lainhart, and dragged her to safety and made sure she was treated first.
Sergeant Wyatt Wilson USMC has now been awarded the Bronze Star with V:
From his citation:
“Upon seeing a critically injured casualty next to him, he disregarded his own grievous wounds, the tear gas engulfing him, and reports of gunfire and began dragging this Marine to safety.”
“Unable to continue forward due to a significant loss of blood, he passed the casualty to an uninjured Marine, and refused medical treatment for his own life-threatening wounds.”
“His selfless and decisive actions undoubtedly saved the life of another Marine, at great risk to his own,” the citation continues. “Corporal Wilson’s bold actions, courage under fire, and total dedication to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
Wilson was flown to Germany for medical treatment, then on to Walter Reed. Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe site to help pay for expenses of his wife and daughter to cover their costs when visiting him in the hospital. From that site the true story of his injuries emerges. He had, “facial and chest trauma, multiple shrapnel wounds to his abdomen and extremities; Wyatt also had surgery on his face to repair his jaw and will require others. He has been medically sedated this entire time along with a tracheal tube and chest tube for internal bleeding.”
Corporal Kelsee Lainhart USMC, who Wilson rushed to help and pulled to safety, is also still recovering from her wounds.
Photo: A Marine from 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 21, 2021 - several days before the suicide bombing. Official US Marine Corps Photo