September 13, 2007

Local Soldier Injured In Combat in Afghanistan

Just days before Americans remember one of the darkest days in recent history, the War of Terror that was sparked by the terrorist attacks of September 11th struck close to home as news was received that a local soldier was wounded in Afghanistan.

Stephen Schneider, 23, was injured during combat operations in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, September 8th. A road-side bomb detonated destroying the vehicle Schneider was in. The explosion killed one soldier and wounded four others, including Schneider, who was medivacked to the field hospital at the British base Camp Bastion.

We received a call from Stephens commander on Sunday morning at 4:00 a.m. telling us that he had been in a vehicle that was destroyed by a roadside bomb, but that he was okay, said Stephens father Dr. Robert Schneider of Memphis.

Robert and Sue received a call later that day from Stephen informing them that he had suffered smoke inhalation and corneal abrasions in the attack and had been flown from the base for treatment of his injuries.

Dr. Schneider learned that his son was on an IV and was receiving pain medication for what had been classified as non-serious injuries (NSI) but had left him with some vision problems and in need of the special medical attention.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the attack occurred approximately five miles west of the city of Sangien.

Up until the phone call on Sunday morning, the Schneiders did not even know where their son had been deployed.

Schneider, a hospital corpsman with the United States Navy, had been attached to the Marine Special Operations Command Detachment 2. Because of the nature of his operation, he was previously unable to tell his family where he was being sent when he received word of his six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Ironically, that deployment was set to conclude, and Stephen had called his parents just the day before the incident to let them know he would be coming home soon.

It definitely has been an emotional roller coaster, going from the excitement of knowing he was coming home soon to this, said Dr. Schneider.

Those emotions turned to frustration for the family as they waited more than two days to get an update on their sons medical condition. As of Tuesday morning, September 11th, the family still had not received any additional information.

As ex-military, I understand the situation but that doesnt make it any easier as parents needing to know how our son is, Dr. Schneider said.

Finally Stephen was able to get in touch with his parents later Tuesday morning to let them know he had been transported to an Air Force base where he was continuing to receive treatment for blurry vision and lung irritation caused by smoke inhalation, but that he was alright and had some good news.

He couldnt tell us where he was, but he told us he would be boarding a ship pretty soon to come home for his leave, as had been planned before all of this happened, Dr. Schneider stated. Our prayers have been answered.

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