05/13/11 — Injured airman identified

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Injured airman identified

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 13, 2011 1:46 PM

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U.S. Air Force photo

Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell and Military Working Dog Charlie were injured Sunday by an anti-personnel mine blast just outside Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Seekell is recovering at Walter Reed.

The 4th Fighter Wing Security Forces airman who was injured early Sunday morning in Afghanistan has been identified by the Air Force.

Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell is currently being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for injuries sustained when he and his military working dog, Charlie, came into contact with an anti-personnel mine in Afghanistan.

The airman, who began a six-month tour in March as part of a four-man team, was performing a patrol outside the Bagram Airfield wire when the incident occurred.

Since the blast, Seekell, who lost his foot as a result of the explosion, has undergone numerous surgeries and was awarded a Purple Heart.

Charlie, officials said, is healing at Bagram and is not expected to require any major surgery -- the dog was, however, hit by shrapnel and both of his eardrums burst.

The airman's squadron commander, Maj. Jim Alves, pledged Thursday to stand behind his comrade.

"Staff Sgt. Seekell is a warrior and an airman to his core," he said. "We are committed to supporting this injured defender, his wife, Megan, and their entire family in any way we can throughout his recovery."

4th Commander Col. Patrick Doherty offered similar sentiments.

"Staff Sgt. Seekell and his wife, Megan, are an inspiration to all of us here at Team Seymour. We are incredibly proud of (his) selfless service and the sacrifices he has taken on with becoming a wounded warrior," he said. "And what's truly special about this couple is how they have responded to this adversity. They are positive. Staff Sgt. Seekell wants to hurry up with his rehab so he can get back on patrol and back in the fight. That's the same type of fire and tenacious attitude I saw when visiting with him and Charlie prior to departing for their deployment.

"He is truly special and one of our best airmen and defenders. We're blessed to live in a country that develops young men and women with that type of character and fighting spirit".

Seekell was not the only airman injured in the blast.

Staff Sgt. Russell Logan, a 164th Airlift Wing Security Forces airman deployed out of Memphis, Tenn., is also expected to receive treatment at Walter Reed.