Boston Blasts, War Zone Similarities

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Tuesday April 16, 2013

The blasts from two improvised explosive devices in Boston brings back traumatic memories to a former U.S. Army Ranger from Wichita.

Jay Erwin served multiple tours of duty in Iraq while in the army between 2004 and 2008. A mortar exploded near his unit out on patrol in 2006. Two soldiers were killed, seven others were injured including Erwin's critical injuries.

Erwin says those close to the Boston blasts likely experienced a similar conscussion he experienced. "The first thing you experience is like you're almost blacked out. Your mind goes blank. Your ears, you can't hear. And to see that runner fall, that's probably what happened. It can blow you over. It can do weird things. That's probably the first ten or 15 seconds of an IED explosion. And then you slowly get your hearing back."

Then, he says, one's sight returns and you see the chaos around you.

"You see your injuries."

His injuries were extensive -- metal rods are keeping he left leg and right index finger together. His body still retains shrapnel.

As for what the Boston victims will later put up with, he says, "there's going to be some bad memories."

Erwin says he's experienced post traumatic stress disorder.

"Some bad nightmares. You're very vulnerable after something like that. I mean it still happens to me. You experience stressors that set you into a tizzy."

But he says one can learn how to deal with the stressors and says those in Boston will learn how to cope also.

"You never really stop recovering from being injured by a bomb."

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