5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Filed: Thursday, December 06, 2001 2:46 PM EST
Reprint from AP Wire Service DAVID McHUGH, Associated Press Writer
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AP) -- An American soldier wounded by an errant U.S. bomb in Afghanistan arrived at a U.S. military base in Germany and underwent hours of surgery Thursday.
The Special Forces soldier, who was not identified, was among 20 Americans injured Wednesday when a bomb missed its target and landed about 100 yards from their position north of Kandahar. Three Army Green Berets soldiers and six anti-Taliban Afghan fighters were killed.
An ambulance pulled up to the back of the plane, a Tennessee National Guard C-141, as it arrived at Ramstein Air Base from Oman. The soldier was wheeled down the aircraft's ramp on a stretcher and taken to the U.S. military's nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Maj. Mark Ervin, a surgeon at the hospital, said the soldier underwent four to five hours of surgery by a team that included orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons.
``The patient has been returned to the intensive care unit and remains in a guarded condition,'' he said. ``It will be 48 to 72 hours before we have a firm grasp on his prognosis.''
The remains of two of the Americans killed in Afghanistan and a U.S. sailor who died after a fall on his ship in the Arabian Sea were due in Germany later Thursday, said Lt. Col. Ed Loomis, a spokesman for U.S. European Command.
Seventeen of the 20 wounded Americans were evacuated from the scene of the bombing accident, first to a U.S. Marine base south of Kandahar and then out of Afghanistan. Their injuries ``vary from moderate to severe,'' a statement from U.S. Central Command said.
Loomis said arrangements were being made to bring 14 others to Landstuhl on Friday.
Eighteen Afghan anti-Taliban fighters were being treated on U.S. Navy ships in the Arabian Sea, the statement said. Eight were on the USS Peleliu and 10 were aboard the USS Bataan.
The Landstuhl hospital last week treated five Special Forces soldiers who were injured during an uprising at a fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif where captive Taliban fighters were being held. They were hurt by a U.S. bomb that missed its target after the team called in airstrikes in support of northern alliance forces.
Landstuhl also treated four crewmen whose helicopter crash-landed in Afghanistan in early November, and about 20 others for illness or non-combat injuries.