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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

Mission ends with injury

Sunday, October 17, 2010

(Photo)
Specialist Justin Mercer poses holding his helmet less than 24 hours after being injured while serving in Afghanistan.
(Submitted Photo)
SIKESTON -- September 5 is a day Justin Mercer will likely never forget.

Not only was it the most intense day of fighting the Army specialist faced during his nine-month deployment in Afghanistan, he was also struck in the head with a bullet.

"This particular mission had been planned once or twice in the past," said Mercer, who was released and returned home to Bertrand earlier this month. "Intel reports said the Taliban had too many fighters and also that they were building strongholds and fighting positions in the valley we were trying to assault."

Once his unit was ready for the mission, there was bad weather so the mission was again pushed back until the go-ahead was given on Sept. 5.

Thirteen chalks, or groups of soldiers, were set to be transported by helicopter to the mission site, which Mercer called "a very hot area," on a ridge line.

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