Harrowing attack in Afghanistan earns Sacrifice Medal


SGT Jeffrey Spricenieks with the Sacrifice Medal

With the blood pounding in his ears, Sergeant Jeff Spricenieks pulled his battered partner out of the Tracked Light Armoured Vehicle (TLAV) in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

While completing a re-supply mission as part of Operation Athena on Aug.17, 2007, their vehicle hit a Taliban roadside improvised explosive device.  

At a ceremony last Thursday, Sgt Spricenieks received a Sacrifice Medal for injuries he sustained that day as a result of enemy action, and was promoted to his current rank.

He says that getting the medal brought back memories of what happened that day.

“After the loud pop of the explosion, we were flipped over about 30 metres off the road,” he says. “Given that the vehicle is about 29,000 pounds, it was a pretty massive bump.”

When they came to a stop, Sgt Spricenieks, then a Master Bombardier, struggled to free himself from the driver’s hatch of the TLAV. Despite injuries to his back and left ear, he managed to remove his co-driver from the vehicle.

“My initial reaction was to make sure the site was secure, so we wouldn’t get ambushed,” he says.

“So after doing an initial check for the enemy, I gave him my pistol so he could cover us while I performed first aid on him, because he was definitely more banged up then I was. All our other weapons were destroyed.”

Sgt Spricenieks says his months and months of training took over.

“I didn’t want to move him because it was possible he had spinal injuries, possible broken femurs, and he had a broken nose.”

While stabilizing his co-driver, he waved up the next vehicle to conduct security.

But due to the surrounding terrain, communications from the security vehicle were not possible.

Sgt Spricenieks then ran 100 metres to the next Canadian vehicle to call MEDEVAC before succumbing to his own injuries and shock.

“Once the helicopter was on its way, I started shutting down, and actually felt my injuries,” he says.

The two soldiers were flown to the Role 3 Hospital at the KAF (Kandahar Air Field).

Sgt Spricenieks was triaged, X-rayed, and bandaged up. He spent the next 10 days recovering in KAF before being flown back to his squadron to resume his duties in the field.

He returned to Canada at the completion of his rotation early September 2007.

“My injuries – the upper back issues and hearing damage – didn’t manifest until after I got home, after the adrenaline wore off,” he says.

“But my injuries are not nearly as bad as most people who get hurt over there, so that’s why it took me almost seven years to apply for the Sacrifice Medal.”

“I was just doing my job,” he adds. “And sometimes people get hurt while doing what they have to do.”

Rachel Lallouz
Staff Writer

Filed Under: Top Stories


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  1. Mara Spricenieks says:

    To You and to All of You…
    I raise up my glass and say Sveiks!

  2. Dexter Brown CPI1(R) says:

    To my Brother in Arms BZ….

    Yours Aye

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