“An Iraqi soldier climbed a wall used for security and started shooting where we were asleep,” Michael Campbell, 26, said from his hospital bed in Germany Friday as he recalled the attack. “All total, 11 U.S. soldiers were shot, two of which died. The gunman was later killed by American soldiers.”
Campbell said the incident happened in Tuz, Iraq, 3-5 p.m. Iraqi time.
Paula Kay, Campbell’s sister, said he was shot in the abdomen and the bullet went through his stomach. The bullet nicked his colon and it fractured his left iliac wing.
“He is lucky to be alive,” Kay said. “The soldier next to Michael was killed.”
Kay said her brother had surgery in Iraq, and was flown to a hospital in Germany, a 5-hour flight, after he was stabilized.
During the flight, Campbell’s family in Ragland was notified that he had been wounded.
Campbell’s wife, Tanya, said she was called around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday. She called his mother, who started calling other family members.
“It was supposed to be a safe place,” Campbell said. “It was designed to be a safe area. There was the big, long wall and the six trucks were all parked to make a half circle. We had taken our gear off and we were comfortable. Then this guy climbed the wall and started shooting.”
Campbell said he hopes to be recovered in three to four months.
“I love everybody,” he said. “I love my hometown of Ragland. I hope to spend some time there before I have to go back to my regular duties in Hawaii.”
His wife said she spoke with the staff at the hospital in Germany where Campbell is recovering.
“I am grateful for everything the soldiers in his platoon did for him to get him to safety,” she said. “I am very proud of them. There were only two medics there and they did an outstanding job. There were injured soldiers there who were helping to care for others. The staff at the hospital in Germany has taken very good care of Michael. I can’t wait to see him.”
Tanya Campbell said tentative plans are to transport Campbell to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., Sunday.
“Hopefully, he will then be flown to a hospital at Ft. Gordon in Georgia so he will be closer to his family,” she said.
The Campbells have a 4-year-old son, Jax, as well as a 15-year-old stepson, Dakota Gardner.
Campbell’s other sister, Alicia Campbell, said although she is worried about her brother, everything is hopefully going to be OK.
“I can’t imagine what he has been through the past few days,” Alicia Campbell said. “Everyone in Ragland has been so gracious. They are so concerned about him. A lot of prayers are going up for him and we are so appreciative.”
Campbell is the son of Sue Campbell of Ragland and Mike Campbell, also of Ragland. He is the grandson of Ellen Campbell of Ragland.
“I already had a bad, horrible feeling when I went to bed that night because I had not heard anything from Michael on Facebook and we started seeing reports on CNN that night that something had happened,” his mother said Friday. “He has always had strict orders from me that he is to post something on Facebook to let me know he is OK. I was still wide awake when Tanya called me at 1:15 a.m. He was on my mind. I am thankful he is alive and can’t wait to see him. The support we have had from the people in Ragland, St. Clair County and the entire state has been phenomenal. We appreciate it.”
Campbell joined the United States Army Sept. 1, 2009. Basic training was held at Ft. Benning, Ga. He was then stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
He deployed from Hawaii July 2, and arrived in Iraq a few days later as a member of the 2nd Platoon, 1-27th Infantry where he is a radio telecommunications operator.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.