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Special forces soldier saw dead comrade’s blown-off hand and leg after blast
January 23, 2022
A special forces soldier found his comrade's blown-up hand and leg after an improvised explosive device destroyed their truck.
Joseph Serna, 44, is a retired veteran of the Green Beret Special Forces – the US equivalent of the SAS – having passed selection in 2001, six years after joining the army in 1995.
Soon after passing selection for the special forces, he was deployed to Colombia, helping to train the South American nation's military in fighting the 'War on Drugs', before being deployed to Afghanistan in 2006.
While on a joint mission with the Afghan National Army as part of his first combat deployment in the country in 2008, his team ran over an improvised explosive device.
Speaking on the Lockdown 23and1 podcast on YouTube, the 44-year-old said: "We came across a village and it kind of fish bowled, you had to drive down the fishbowl and come up the other side.
"First truck goes, second truck goes and then third truck goes – which is my truck. We started making our way into the fishbowl and I feel this massive blow and I find myself on the outside, about 20 feet away from the truck – it blew me out the back of the truck."
The dad-of-seven went on to explain how he became very disorientated and had no idea where he was, with his mind taking him back to his childhood days of playing baseball and sliding around in the dirt.
As he regained his senses, he realised he had to find cover, but that's when he saw his comrades were seriously injured.
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He explained: "I look over at my buddy and his legs are going backwards. He shot out of the truck and landed back in it.
"I then look over at my three o'clock and see my boss. He's still sitting in his chair, but he's in the chair about 20 feet away from the truck, as he got blown out of the truck."
That's when he then started doing a head count before noticing a body 50 feet away from him and as he made his way over there, he made a grim discovery.
He added: "So I start making my way to my buddy and the first thing I crossed about five feet away from the truck was his hand. Just from the wrist up, it still had his watch on.
"Then I go another 15 feet and I find his leg. I'm like 'damn dude, this is horrible'. So I start running towards the body and I grabbed his face and saw that it had peeled off.
"His other leg was hanging on just by the clothes, nothing else, his leg was off.
"I thought he was killed in action right there, I didn't know he was still breathing. I feel bad for him because when I picked up his body, he let out that deep sigh before dying."
In 2008, while questioning a detained Taliban fighter on a tactical objective, the fighter detonated a grenade hidden on his person, injuring Joseph in the process.
After undergoing five surgeries as a result, the grandfather-of-two decided to retire from the special forces following medical recommendations.
Following his retirement, he moved with his family to North Carolina, USA, and completed his university studies in Business and Accounting.