Wounded Airman Glad To Be Home

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A McConnell Air Force Base airman is thankful to be back in Wichita after being shot while serving in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Beau Chastain is a special type of airman. He refuses to run from trouble, and instead runs to it. He is an Explosive Ordnance Detachment specialist who was shot in the leg June 9 in a gun fight in southwest Afghanistan. But for Sgt. Chastain, being in the middle of combat is just doing his job, a job he finds exciting.

"It definitely is a thrill," Sgt. Chastain said. "I guess people say we're a little bit crazy, and that's probably true to knowingly walk towards what everyone else is afraid of and trying to get away from."

Earlier this month, Sgt. Chastain was in Gereshk, a town in the Helmand province in central Afghanistan. This is Sgt. Chastain's fourth deployment to Afghanistan serving as an EOD specialist, or explosives diffusing specialist. The enemy can easily identify EOD personnel because they head toward the bombs.

Sgt. Chastain's EOD unit had been investigating a weapons cache on June 9, when a gunfight erupted with bullets flying. One hit Sgt. Chastain in the left leg. "They knew we were there to disarm it," Sgt. Chastain recalled. "Probably the very first shot hit me in the leg."

After two weeks of recovering in a hospital and being awarded the Purple Heart by Brig. Gen. Tod Wolters, Sgt Chastain said he is just thankful to be back in Wichita and away from the excitement. "It's actually kind of boring being back over here," he said. "But I think I'd take boring any day than being stuck over where I was at."

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