Sgt. Bo Pinnell (U.S. Army) and his wife/high school sweetheart Johanna, above, made a stop in Sequim after spending the better part of three years in Italy. Both are 2010 Sequim High School graduates.
In a way it’s standard operating procedure in the Pinnell family to serve: Bo’s father served, as did his brother.
Pinnell says he knew early on — as early as the fifth grade — that he wanted to join.
After joining up not long after high school, Pinnell did 14 weeks of basic training in February of 2011 at Fort Benning (Columbus, Ga.), then completed a three-week airborne training school.
Pinnell was stationed with an Army Infantry Airborne Unit in Italy and did a nine-month tour in Afghanistan. He was promoted to sergeant on July 3.
We caught up with Pinnell during his recent visit, when he told us about a particularly dangerous and memorable firefight in Afghanistan.
Look for a feature about Pinnell in the Aug. 6 edition of the Sequim Gazette.
“We were deployed in the Wardak province. We go there in the dead of summer with the 82nd first (airborne division) . We had our share of excitement.
The biggest thing we did was a three-day mission. We followed an RCP (Route Clearance Platoon). We were posted up on this hilltop. We hit 21 IEDs (improvised explosive device). We lost bomb dogs and had assets (enemies) the entire time.
I was a driver at the time. The bank we were on started giving way so I stopped. We started getting shot at for a few minutes. We made it to the top of the hill … the most exciting day of my life.
The RCP had 20 to 30 insurgents … and took two casualties. They (the insurgents) were coming to take (the RCP) out. We had two A-10 Warthogs (aircraft designed for close air support of ground forces). Under our night vision goggles, they looked like they were breathing fire.
Knowing our guys were going to be OK was great. I give all praise to those pilots. They probably saved us more than anything.
All in 72 hours.”
Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper.
If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.