Two Mannford residents injured in Iraq

Tuesday, December 28th 2004, 10:38 am
By: News On 6

Two soldiers from Mannford were in the mess hall explosion a week ago in Mosul, Iraq. One was seriously injured, the other barely hurt, but both their families are grateful it wasn't worse.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says Lisa Vaught last saw her husband, Russell Vaught[pictured], a couple of weeks after they were married - when he left for Iraq. She'll see him again Wednesday - at the US Army hospital in San Antonio where he's recovering. “He was right at the blast; he was really close to it.” The blast left her husband Russell with a fractured pelvis, collapsed lung, shrapnel wounds and burns.

Russell’s mother Nina Vaught: "The colonel called from Fort Polk and he said he was injured, seriously, but it was not life threatening." Since then, the family has watched the news and seen pictures of the blast.

They know it could have been even worse for Russell, with so many killed and injured, and despite his injuries, they feel fortunate. Lisa Vaught: “When I see the pictures of the explosion, I think it's a miracle that he survived.”

Betty Shouse, also of Mannford, knows that feeling. Her son, Chief Warrant Officer Joe Shouse, was in the mess hall too. “And he was sitting with his back to it, and saw a blue light flash and just engulf him. And something hit him in the back of the head he was knocked down, out of his chair. He's going to be OK, and helped evacuate the wounded, perhaps even Russell Vaught, who lost a buddy in the blast.”

Nina Vaught: "And we haven't asked him about a lot of details, asked a lot of questions about what he remembers because a guy in his unit was killed and he was sitting beside him so we haven't put him through that until we can see his face."

The two soldiers from Mannford don't know each other. Warrant Officer Shouse was treated in Mosul and remains on duty.

Sgt Vaught's family says he's likely to be discharged because of his injuries. He was scheduled to come home in March, regardless.