Small Wars Journal

Adam Ray

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Adam Ray

by Michael Yon

Download the full article: Adam Ray

18 February 2010

Kandahar, Afghanistan

On Feb. 9th, in a field near a road, an Afghan soldier squatted to relieve himself. He picked the wrong spot. A bomb exploded, blowing off a leg, and he died. Captain John Weatherly, Commander of Charlie Company of the 4-23 Infantry at FOB Price in Helmand Province, mentioned that in passing as he described the series of events that led to the death of Specialist -- now Sergeant -- Adam Ray, a vigorous 23 year old, born in Tampa, Florida. The bomb the Afghan stumbled upon was near the IED that struck Adam.

Without the thousands of culverts underneath, the roads of Afghanistan would be flooded and washed away during the snow melts and rains. In safe countries, drivers pay as little attention to culverts as we would to telephone poles. As a practical matter they are invisible to us.

In the war zone that is Afghanistan, life and limb depend on noticing normally mundane things like culverts. They are a favorite hiding spot for the Taliban to plant bombs intended to kill Americans driving the roads. Hundreds, even thousands of pounds of explosives can be stuffed inside, launching our vehicles into the sky, flipping them over and over, sometimes killing all. And so, in some areas, soldiers on missions must stop dozens of times to check culverts for explosives. Since we do this every day in front of thousands of Afghans, they know our patterns. In addition to planting bombs in culverts, they plant mines and other bombs near culverts, to get men who stop to check.

Download the full article: Adam Ray

Michael Yon is a former Green Beret who has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004. No other reporter has spent as much time with combat troops in these two wars. Michael's dispatches from the frontlines have earned him the reputation as the premier independent combat journalist of his generation. His work is published at Michael Yon Online and has been featured on Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, ABC, FOX, as well as hundreds of other major media outlets all around the world.

About the Author(s)

Michael Yon is a former Green Beret, native of Winter Haven, Fl. who has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004.  No other reporter has spent as much time with combat troops in these two wars.  Michael’s dispatches from the frontlines have earned him the reputation as the premier independent combat journalist of his generation.  His work has been featured on “Good Morning America,” The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, ABC, FOX, as well as hundreds of other major media outlets all around the world.