MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Aug. 13, 2004) -- I am sad, but I don't think about it that much," said Lance Cpl. Ryan Logan, crewman, Weapons Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. "Maybe I don't want to. Maybe I just don't feel like I need to. People say I'm a hero. I don't think I am. I didn't do anything to be a hero. I just did my job. That's all I had to do. If that makes me a hero-OK. I don't think so. I'm the guy that got hit and then was able to go home."
On June 7, around 6:30 p.m. in the city of Ramadi in the Al Anbar Province, 20-year-old Logan and his crew were the lead light armored vehicle in a convoy during a route recon when an improvised explosive device went off on the right side of his vehicle.
"I was sitting down inside the LAV, and my friend Bowman was blown out of the vehicle," said Logan, who's been a Marine for two years. "[Killed in action] instantly. There was nothing we could do for him. After the IED went off we started to get engaged by small arms fire from the right side of the road. We were the only vehicle hit."
Logan suffered extensive damage in his legs that doctors say will leave him with a permanent limp and scars to remind him of that dreadful day.
"I got hit in the knee and the thighs here," said Logan as he slightly pulled up his red shorts to reveal bandages on both legs. "It goes all the way up to my hip. At Pendleton it got infected. They had to cut all the skin off and let it sit in open air. Altogether I was hospitalized for a month."
The impact of the explosion was almost unreal to Logan.
"The bomb went off and it was like the animation in cartoons when a character gets blown up and turns to ashes and they blink for a second before they realize what happened. That's kind of how it was. I looked around, and after the smoke cleared I noticed Bowman lying on top of the vehicle. His legs were in the way and I couldn't shut the door so I yelled, 'Hey Bowman. Hey man, move your feet.'"
At that moment, Logan felt a paralysis that left him confused.
"I didn't know I was hurt," said Logan. "I didn't feel anything. I reached for my weapon because they asked me to get out and provide security. I said, 'Yes, I could do it. I'm fine.' I touched my thigh, and that's when the pain kicked in, and I realized what happened. My friend, Jonathon, got hit in the shoulder. I told him I couldn't move, and he took off."
Worried that his crewmate abandoned him, Logan was relieved shortly after to see his friend return with help.
"That's why he took off-he didn't leave me there," said Logan. "The corpsman came and pulled me out, and that's when I saw more of Bowman on the vehicle."
Logan was unaware that his friend did not survive. While bullets almost grazed him, Logan could only think of his friend's safety.
"I had no idea he was dead," said Logan. "I thought he was unconscious. I didn't find out until I arrived in Germany. I thought he was all right. He was lying there, and I thought the corpsman would take care of him, but when the enemy started to shoot at us I was thinking, 'Bowman's laying up there exposed; somebody should get him down.' But the
corpsman looked at him and didn't do anything. I thought, 'Bowman's up there, he's fine, he's just unconscious. Well, if he's unconscious then why doesn't anybody pull him off of there in case he gets hit again?' The corpsman can only treat the wounded."
In the meantime, Logan knew the enemy was approaching when he noticed the corpsman pulled out his 9 mm pistol and returned fire.
"I looked around; I could see bullets hit the dirt," said Logan. "I'm getting hit with the dirt, and I'm thinking, 'I'm going to die. This is it. Why do I have to die in the middle of Iraq in the middle of a road?' Then all of a sudden the enemy stopped for some reason. Another corpsman came to help, and the enemy started to shoot at us again. One of the corpsman fell on top of me to cover me. I thought he had been hit because I heard rounds and the bursts of
a machine gun. He got up, and they put me on a gurney."
Now that he is on convalescent leave in the home he grew up in, Logan only wishes he could walk normally again and go rock climbing. He walks with a limp assisted with a cane and does not have full mobility of his right foot.
"They said it's going to be permanent, but then they said I wouldn't be able to walk for six months," said Logan. "When you tell a Marine he can't do something what is he going to do-he's going to do it."
It didn't take long for Logan to get back on his feet. In a short amount of time he was walking around the hospital ward.
"Now I can walk around the hospital ward. It took 30 minutes to get around the whole ward but I made it."
The idea of going back does not cross his mind anymore, although he admits he wanted to when he returned to the states.
"I thought about the Marines a lot," said Logan. "I saw them on TV a couple of times. I recognized them. When you're around the same group of guys for five months you have your close set of friends, but you know everybody. When you're fighting alongside the same group of guys for five months you know everything about them."
Now that he is home, Logan is subjected to anti-war propaganda but encourages people to voice their opinion.
"I have nothing to say to them," said Logan. "Look at the book I'm reading right now," he said as he pointed to a book that displays a photo of Michael Moore. "The way I look at it is they can say whatever they want to say but it's OK because I give them the right to say that. Bowman gave them the right to say that. Marines gave their lives for people to say whatever they want. I don't support them, but I'm not against them."
Logan will undergo a medical board to determine if he is fit for duty. He is hopeful he will return to active duty with his unit upon their return from Iraq.
"I said I was going to do four years," said a determined Logan. "I'll do four years whether I'm behind a desk or doing my job. Afterward, if I can stay in I'll reenlist if I can't I don't know what I'll do."
Marine Corps News> Injured Marine wants to stay in Corps