A Bristol native on his third wartime assignment was badly injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last week.
Sgt. Joshua Bouchard, who joined the U.S. Marines five years ago, lost part of a leg and suffered severe back injuries, according to his aunt, Sandra Ouelette of Bristol.
Two other Marines in the vehicle – in the lead of a convoy in southeastern Afghanistan last Tuesday – were killed by the explosion, family members said.
“It’s pretty bad out there,” Oulette said Monday.
Bouchard, who underwent his second major back surgery Monday, was born in Bristol and grew up in town before moving with his parents to Amherst, Mass. before high school.
Mayor Art Ward, a Marine veteran who was injured in Vietnam, said he hopes Bouchard has “a speedy recovery.”
“We’re grateful for his service,” Ward said. He said soldiers such as Bouchard “are there for us and we need to be there for him” in his time of need.
“I would like people to know so they could say prayers for this brave soldier,” Ouelette said.
Bouchard’s parents, James and Suzann Bouchard, are with him at the hospital at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, Ouelette said.
“We were so afraid that he would not make it but fortunately he has so far,” she said.
The family learned of Bouchard’s injuries Wednesday. The military flew his parents to Germany to see their son and to help him with his recovery, Ouelette said.
James Bouchard is a Vietnam veteran who was also wounded in battle, his sister said.
“Wounded in Vietnam and your son goes and he gets wounded, too, like a domino thing,” Ouelette said.
Bouchard had served two tours in Iraq and recently signed on for his second four-year stint in the Marines, his aunt said.
The improvised explosive that injured Bouchard came during the largest U.S. military operation in Afghanistan since 2001.
Troops are targeting Taliban-held areas with the goal of reclaiming the territory for the U.S-backed central government before next month’s presidential election in the troubled country.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org