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Michael "Harry" Harrison saved by Bushmaster vehicle


TROOPER Michael "Harry" Harrison was driving his Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle into a small dry creek bed when the eight-tonner was knocked sideways by an insurgent's bomb.

September 15, 2011 12:00AM

It was Tuesday, September 6, and the Australian mentoring and combat teams from Charlie Company of the 2nd Battalion had been in contact with the enemy on and off for two days.

Trooper Harrison, who is from B Squadron at the Townsville-based 3/4 Cavalry Regiment, was heading for the night lock - a secure camp - with crew commander Lance Corporal Scott "Raz" Rasmussen and forward observer Lieutenant Jesse Butler on board.Trooper Harrison, originally from the Gold Coast, remembers a thud and being thrown into the window and winded as the Bushy was turned 90 degrees by the blast.

"My first thought was, 'where am I?' It was dark from the dust and I couldn't see anything," Trooper Harrison said.

He and Lance Corporal Rasmussen escaped with minor injuries, but Lieutenant Butler was not so lucky.

The homemade roadside bomb went off under the right rear wheel and Butler had been standing in the rear gunner's hatch when it detonated. He sustained spinal damage and was immediately assisted by Raz while Harry manned the forward turret gun.

Small arms rounds were flying overhead as combat medic Corporal Adam Santucci, from Whyalla in South Australia, stabilised Lieutenant Butler and removed him from the vehicle.

The engineers prepared a landing zone for a Blackhawk medical evacuation chopper from Tarin Kowt.

To everyone's astonishment the damaged vehicle was still getting power to its front wheels and the untouched rear wheel, so Harry drove it as it was towed out of the creek and into the night lock.

The next day the men gutted the vehicle and began towing it home as senior officers debated whether to salvage or destroy it.

After being engaged again by the enemy they were given the "destroy" order and the Bushy was blown up in a wadi.

"I knew how the old cavalry soldiers felt when their favourite horse had to be shot," Trooper Harrison said. "One thing is for sure, the Bushy is a great vehicle and is well worth the money."

Read article at The Daily Telegraph here.

Author: Ian McPhedran

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au

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