Injured soldier tells tale of landmine blast (Canada)


Master Cpl. Jody Mitic, who lost both of his feet after being injured by an IED in Afghanistan, speaks on CTV's Mike Duffy Live on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008.


(11.11.2008)

It's been nearly two years since Master Cpl. Jody Mitic has been in Afghanistan.

But he'll never forget what happened to him the last time he was there -- when he stepped onto an active landmine and lost both of his feet as a result of the blast.

It was in the early hours of Jan. 11, 2007, when Mitic, the leader of a three-man sniper team, was on patrol just west of the volatile Panjwaii district.

"We were coming to near the end of our tour," he said in an appearance on CTV's Mike Duffy Live on Tuesday. "I was the team leader of a sniper team."

With a higher-ranking officer deciding to tag along for the patrol, it brought their total to four.

The team was moving through a doorway to the start of a trailway and Mitic was bringing up the back of the patrol.

"I was the last one through the door," Mitic said.

"My good friend was on a knee covering down the trail. I tapped him on the shoulder. He stood up, turned to carry on."

Then Mitic stepped forward.

"When I took the step, I thought I was stepping where he was -- and that's when I stepped on the landmine," he said.

He was rushed to treatment at Kandahar airfield, but it was too late to save his feet.

"At the time, it was just my right foot that had been amputated by the blast," Mitic said.

"The left one was badly damaged and they made the call in Kandahar to surgically remove it. Their feeling was that even if I kept it, it would just be like a useless stump, basically."

The months that followed included a rehab process that "was not as easy as I hoped it would be," Mitic said.

He credits his friends and family with helping him make it through and he considers himself fortunate that he didn't lose more than he did.

"In amputee terms, I was lucky that I got to keep my knees," Mitic said.

"Just in general, I've been trying to get back into life," he said.

He's become a father, since his girlfriend -- a sergeant and combat medic in the Canadian Forces -- gave birth to a baby girl in recent months.

His girlfriend, in fact, was one of the people who came to rescue him when he was in need on the ground in Afghanistan.

"It was her ambulance that actually came and picked me up from that night when I was wounded," he said. "And that's pretty much where we met, it was on the battlefield."

And he's still working for the Canadian Forces at CFB Petawawa, acting as a liaison between injured soldiers and the services they may use during their recovery.

Since completing his rehab, he's also taken up running.

In March, Mitic ran a 5-K fundraising run that raised more than $50,000 for St. John's Rehab Hospital in Toronto.

"I did five kilometers in 45 minutes, with the help of everyone," Mitic said, something he accomplished by running on prosthetic blades.

And next March, he plans to do the same.

"This year we're going to try to raise $100,000 and maybe raise the bar a little bit," Mitic said.

Von: 11.11.2008, CTV.ca News Staff, www.ctv.ca

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