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Wounded Marine to be taken to Germany

September 16, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Breehl was in a hospital in Kuwait on Friday, a day after shrapnel struck him while he was on patrol in Habbaniyah, Iraq, said his mother, Melissa Custer.

A 2005 North Hagerstown High School graduate and wrestling standout, Breehl, 19, was stabilized and heavily sedated for pain Friday at a holding hospital in Kuwait. He will be transferred to a hospital in Germany, where he will be evaluated, Custer said.

Breehl, who joined the Marines last July, sustained injuries to his right wrist and left thigh when shrapnel from a remote-controlled improvised explosive device struck him Thursday morning in Habbaniyah, Custer said.

"His pulse is good in his legs," said Custer, who works at Smithsburg Medical Center.

Breehl was the seventh Marine back, walking about 30 feet apart from fellow Marines, when the explosion occurred, Custer said. He was the only one who was wounded in the blast, she said.

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"They said, 'Five more feet and he wouldn't be with us,'" Custer said. "They have insurgents watching with a remote control. I don't know why they picked him."

Custer said she understands Breehl's first reaction after the blast was to "get up and go," but that he discovered he couldn't move.

Custer said she has called the American Red Cross, which is looking into whether they can help Custer's family travel to Germany to visit Breehl.

"I'm glad that he's stable and he's alive," Custer said. "I just wish I could see him."

Custer said the community has been "very supportive."

Custer said Breehl's friend and fellow Marine, William Younger, just went over to Iraq and is upset over the news.

"It's just a mess," Custer said. "Just bring our boys home."

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