Dispatches From Iraq: Superman

Michael Yon is an independent journalist and former Green Beret who was embedded in Iraq for nine months in 2005. He has returned to Iraq for 2007 to continue reporting on the war. Here is a portion of his latest dispatch exclusively for FOXNews.com.

The crew consisted of four men.

Spc. William Pfeiffer was alone up front and driving. Behind Pfeiffer was the crawl space called the “hell hole” that led to crew compartment.

Standing in the front left hatch was Lt. Brad Krauss, the platoon leader. To Krauss’ right stood Staff Sgt. Daniel Walwark who operated the missiles and a machinegun. In the large single hatch to the rear of the stood Pfc. Devon Hoch.

I don't know which Kenny Chesney song they were listening to before the bomb exploded, but I played my favorite over and over while writing their story, wondering what might have been going through their minds just before the detonation.

Click here to read the full dispatch from Michael Yon in Iraq.

Although the bomb was massive, they couldn’t have seen it. It was hidden and packed into a culvert under the road. I listened to my favorite Chesney song, "Me and You," while writing their story:

"Or-di-nary no, I really don’t think so. Not a love this true.
Common destiny, we were meant to be. Me and you.
Like a perfect scene, from a movie screen. We’re a dream come true."


"Suited perfectly, for eternity. Me and you.
Every day, ‘ell I need you even more. And the nighttime too.
There’s no way, I could ever let you go. Even if I wanted to."


"Every day I live, try my best to give, all I have to you."


"Thank the stars above, that we share this love, me and you."


For Krauss and crew, the great dream of a great song was interrupted:

Click here to watch the dramatic video.

As the bomb detonates beneath it, the General Lee arcs like a dolphin from the sea of hell.

Lt. Krauss can be seen flying out like Superman, if you look closely and imagine real hard. Pfc. Hoch can clearly be seen standing in the back hatch.

And that was it. Our guys lives seemed to be reduced to propaganda. The terrorists published reports that the soldiers were killed.

The story might have ended in the American press:

"Four Soldiers Killed by Roadside Bomb Northwest of Baghdad

Four U.S. soldiers were killed today northwest of Baghdad when their Stryker vehicle was destroyed by a roadside bomb.

Names of the service members are being withheld until notification of next of kin.

The controversial Stryker vehicle is increasingly under fire by critics who claim that its armor is insufficient to protect troops in Iraq.

Elsewhere, Iraqi and U.S. forces killed at least 50 people in Baghdad after three days of fighting in the area around Haifa street.

About 130 people have been killed since Saturday. Separately, 27 bodies thought to be Shia were found shot. …"

But that’s not exactly how it turned out.

Up front in the driver’s seat, Spc. Pfeiffer did not hear the blast. A flash caught his eye out of right periscope, then he saw sky through a periscope and it seemed like seconds but the video shows less than that.

The Stryker on its left side onto Tampa. Pfieffer was dazed. Some soldiers say of this experience, “My television blinked.” Or in more serious cases, “My television went black.”

Pfeiffer’s television blinked off and back on. His eyes blinked open. He was still alive.

The detonation causes fine particles to dust-out the vehicle. The Stryker was filled with dust, but as it slowly cleared, Pfeiffer looked back through the hell hole and didn’t see Lt. Krauss, who had flown like Superman out of the Stryker.

Pfc. Hoch had been standing in the rear hatch and heard nothing. Hoch felt a crushing pressure and his television blinked out.

When his screen blinked on, Hoch found himself atop of the missile rack inside the Stryker. Most men can’t even crawl into that spot. You have to be part snake to fit into there. Hoch knew he was still alive, but couldn’t figure out how he got stuffed into the missile rack.

Staff Sgt. Walwark was in the front right hatch and he was hanging like wet laundry over his hatch. His legs dangled inside, while his arms and legs dangled outside. From the driver's seat, Pfeiffer saw Walwark’s legs dangling still. Pfeiffer knew his crew was dead, and turned back to getting himself out.

Staff Sgt. Walwark’s TV came back on, and he could see Krauss laying on Tampa straight below him. He could see that Krauss was half crushed by the General Lee, but Krauss was rolling back and forth.

Walwark pulled himself out and slid down headfirst and broke his landing with his hands. His M-4 rifle was blown away somewhere.

Walwark saw that Krauss was not crushed, but laying in kind of a ball and still had his headset on, which somehow was still attached to the Stryker with the cord stretched.

In fact, Krauss was conscious and was hearing voices. Voices over his headset. He could hear Sfc. Breaud calling from the Stryker behind trying to figure out what condition people were in. Krauss could hear Breaud on his MBITR radio through the headset, but was dazed and hitting the wrong button to talk.

Walwark stepped out, seeing that Krauss was not crushed, grabbed Krauss’ M-4 rifle, and that’s when he recalls Krauss rolling on the ground, and half out-of-it started yelling, “I’m invincible! I’m invincible!”

Click here to read the full dispatch from Michael Yon in Iraq.


Independent journalist Michael Yon’s dispatches from Iraq appear exclusively on FOXNews.com. Click to read Yon's online magazine MichaelYon-online.com.