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"Hell Raining Down" - Surviving a Russian missile attack

On the days leading up to the actual attack, many air raid sirens sounded through all times day and night. This gave us plenty of practice and preparation for what was about to happen. The first air raid sirens of the day happened around 3:30 am local time while Alex was on duty watching our tent. We had been issued weapons, ammunition, gear, various medicines, and medical supplies. We received the all clear and headed back to sleep.

On Sunday, March 13th in the early morning hours, we were awakened by a massive explosion that shook the ground; we had no warning! I immediately woke up and put on my boots, unlaced, as there was no time for socks. I donned my body armor and got out of the tent not realizing I forgot my helmet, gloves, daypack (which has my medical pouch on it), and cold weather jacket. I asked Alex if he was ready and I thought I heard yes so off to our team’s rendezvous point I went.

While maneuvering to the rendezvous point, I heard a second explosion and could see a building fully engulfed in flames.

I arrived at the rendezvous point and no one from our team was there; others were but no familiar faces for me. I got in a position I thought was the safest for me and reminded myself of my military training from Iraq on how to properly limit exposure to vital organs and limbs.

About halfway through the attack, I noticed only two people from my team arrived at the rendezvous point and Alex was not one of them. Apparently, they decided to change locations on the fly. I moved to a sandbag bunker closer to the infrastructure and facilities being bombed in order to be in a better position to help until after the attack was over.

It felt like an eternity until the sounds of explosions and aircraft stopped only to be replaced by the sounds of ammo and other munitions popping off mixed with the crackling of the burning buildings falling apart.

When I felt it was safe enough I returned to my sleeping area and grabbed the rest of my equipment. This is when a Ukrainian officer directed me to where my team was and told me to join them. After meeting up with the team I finally found Alex, alive and safe!

Personally, I was decently calm during the whole attack as you could hear the whistle sound from the missiles before they would explode and see the Russian aircraft flying above. The sky would light up bright orange as another missile was fired and impacted near our location. I counted 13 explosions. The Ukrainian news reported that 30 missiles were fired but a lot were shot down.


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