Skip to comments.Rifle scope stops incoming fire, saves Marine’s life
Posted on 11/03/2004 7:31:02 PM PST by SJackson
CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq (Nov. 1, 2004) -- A rifle-mounted scope designed to enhance enemy visibility on the battlefield saved the life of a Marine during a Sept. 17 firefight on the outskirts of Fallujah, but not the way intended.
Sgt. Todd B. Bowers, a member of the 4th Civil Affairs Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, spotted enemy snipers during a security patrol outside the restive town of Fallujah. While returning fire, a sniper-fired round hit Bowers advanced combat optical gun site, mounted on his M-16A2 service rifle. Fragmentation from both the ACOG and the bullet were peppered across the left side of Bowers face.
It was about a four-hour firefight. Bullets were flying everywhere, and as I returned fire, it felt like my weapon blew up, said Bowers, 25, a native of Washington, D.C.
A Navy corpsman removed a piece of fragmentation and applied a pressure dressing to his left cheek.
As the corpsman began calling for a medical evacuation, Bowers refused and kept on fighting alongside his fellow Marines.
After he was cleaned up, I knew he would be okay, but I was surprised that he didnt want to leave on a medical evacuation, said Sgt. Jung Kil Yoo, a member of 4th CAG.
Small pieces of fragmentation can still be seen on the left side of his face.
Luckily, I had my ballistic goggles on to protect my eyes, without them I probably would not be able to see out of my left eye, said Bowers.
He can still see the bullet lodged in his scope, which was given to him by his father, John Bowers, two days before leaving to Iraq.
The last time I saw my dad was the day he handed me the scope, said Bowers.
His dad was a former sergeant in the Marine Corps, who didnt want to see his son go into combat without a useful piece of gear.
The ACOG was the best purchase I have ever made in my life, said John to his son during a phone conversation.
Bowers heroism and loyalty to his unit impressed even those who knew him well.
I knew he was a good Marine, said Yoo, 28, a native of Neptune, N.J. Where some would freeze up, he stood his ground and continued to press forward.
Sgt. Bowers was able to keep a cool head about the whole situation, said Lance Cpl. James J. Vooris, 20, a native of Albany, N.Y., and a combat photographer with Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 1.
With all that was going on around him, Bowers did not have time to stop and think about what happened.
I didnt realize how lucky I was till later that day when I sat down to think about it, said Bowers.
As a constant reminder of how the scope possibly saved his life, Bowers plans to keep the scope and mount it on his mantel when he returns home.
Its (the bullet) there and I am glad it stayed there, said Bowers as he pointed to his ACOG still mounted to his weapon.
Bowers, who has been in Iraq since August, is currently serving a seven-month deployment, his second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Everyone of these guys deserves the utmost respect. I haven't heard of a dishonorable or cowardly act by any Marine in Afghanistan or Iraq. Semper Fi!
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They've got civil affairs guys doing patrols? WTF?
I'm glad the ACOG saved his life.
Good job Marine!
We are behind you all the way!
My tagline takes on unintended significance here........
ALL Marines are riflemen. They take civil affairs guys along to work the natives.
Wow!!! He will remember that for the rest of his life.
A good American name.
[Footnote for the DUmmy-Impaired: Note absence of a < sarcasm > tag.]
This reminds me of a friend who was in the Navy in WWII--almost took a piece of shrapnel to the heart--but his pocket Bible stopped it. He became an Anglican priest after the war.
My prayers are going up daily for the men who will be in this big fight for Fallujah. May the guardian angels watch over each and every one of them the way they watched over the fellow in this story.
If this had happened to John Fraud Kerry he would have awarded himself 30 Purple Hearts instead of a measly three.
+ They have a Civil Affairs guy doing patrols?*
All Marines are riflemen first. The MOS is secondary to that...and now, with the new training given to Marines for the close encounters they can face in these surroundings the Marine Times has called them "Gunslingers". Cool, huh!
There are Marines in Civil Affairs as there are members of the Army in Civil Affairs.
My prayers are with your son and your family Alouette...
You are a treasured Freeper btw...
No, just one (more) PH, and at least a 10% disability given his uncertain employment future, disfigurement and all. This was the visible cheek. Plus he could get the disabled license plates. We would have paid the plastic surgery bills, of cours..
This is a semper fi ping. I have no words...
I sure hope he had aligned iron sights for backup. Lesson learned!
Woa Wasn't trying to slight the Army. All services have Civil Affairs - except maybe the coasties not sure about them.
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