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Mont Alto soldier wounded in Iraq is back in the States

November 18, 2006|by DON AINES

MONT ALTO, PA. - A Mont Alto man critically wounded by a roadside bomb this week in Iraq underwent hours of surgery to treat burns and other injuries on Friday after returning to the United States, his grandfather said.

Edward Shaffer said he and his wife, Goldie, received a telephone message left by their grandson's parents on Friday about 2:30 a.m.

"The phone rang sometime last night, and we never even heard it," he said.

"They got to Texas OK. They were operating and in surgery for 13 hours," Edward Shaffer said Friday afternoon of his grandson, Sgt. Edward W. "Eddie" Shaffer, 24, who was injured when the bomb went off Monday next to his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Bradley is a tracked armored personnel carrier with a turret-mounted 25 mm automatic cannon.

Eddie Shaffer's parents, Edward C. and Brenda Shaffer, called his other grandmother, June Shaffer, in Chambersburg on Friday afternoon, Edward Shaffer said.

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"As far as I know, the one hand will have to be amputated for sure," Edward Shaffer said.

His grandson is heavily sedated and his head badly swollen, making it difficult for his parents to judge the extent of his injuries, he said.

Eddie Shaffer had been serving in Iraq for about eight months, and previously had been wounded before Monday's bombing in Ramadi, a Sunni stronghold about 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Edward Shaffer said his grandson, a gunner in the Bradley, sustained burns over about 80 percent of his body.

The soldier's parents and his 22-year-old brother, Timothy, left Mont Alto earlier this week to be with him at a U.S. Army medical center in Germany.

The family accompanied him on a flight back to a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas, Edward Shaffer said.

As of Friday afternoon, Edward Shaffer said his grandson's prognosis still was uncertain.

"He could go either way," he said. Eddie Shaffer will have to undergo more surgeries and skin grafts, he said.

"It's better than when it started, but it's going to be a long process," Edward Shaffer said of the most recent news about his grandson. "We're anxiously waiting" for the next telephone call, he said.

"We're getting a lot of support from our family and friends," the grandfather said.

Eddie Shaffer graduated from Waynesboro Area Senior High School in 2002 and took computer courses at the Thompson Institute before enlisting in the Army in 2003, Edward Shaffer said.

Eddie Shaffer was serving with Third Platoon, Co. B. of the 136th Infantry when he was wounded, he said.

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