Austin Bay
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Kurilla was running while he was hit in three places including his femur, which was shattered. The commander didn't seem to miss a stride. He did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting. ... Bullets were hitting all around Kurilla. The young second lieutenant and specialist who were part of Kurilla's crew that day were the only two soldiers nearby. Neither had real combat experience ... the interpreter had no weapon. I had a camera. ... I screamed to the young soldiers, 'Throw a grenade in there!' but they were not attacking. They didn't have grenades ... or the combat experience to grasp the power of momentum. Help arrived in the form of one man: Command Sergeant Major Prosser. Prosser ran around the corner, passed the two young soldiers, who were crouched low, and me, and started firing at a man inside who was trying to shoot Kurilla with a pistol. Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak. The man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser. Then Prosser's M4 went black (no more bullets). Prosser threw down his empty M4, ran into the shop and tackled the man. I saw the very bloody leg of CSM Prosser inside the shop. He appeared to be shot down and dead. I saw Prosser's M4 on the ground."

Yon picks up Prosser's rifle, grabs a magazine, fires three wild rounds attempting to save Prosser as four more soldiers arrive. Yon writes: "Prosser wasn't dead, he was fighting hand to hand while the terrorist was trying to bite Prosser's wrist, but instead he bit into the face of Prosser's watch. Prosser subdued him by smashing his face into the concrete. The combat drama was ended, so I started snapping photos again."

Quite a piece of prose -- terror, courage, physical combat action, choices bad, good and maybe made palpable and immediate in the fearsome detail of direct experience.

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Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
 
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