State soldier: Guardsmen who died saved his life


AUGUSTA (AP) – A soldier from Windsor who was seriously injured in a bomb attack in Iraq says he owes his life to two fellow Maine National Guard members who were killed in the explosion.

Pvt. Chris Fraser, 19, suffered burns and lacerations in last Saturday’s attack and is being treated at a hospital in Germany. The bomb killed Staff Sgt. Dale Kelly Jr., 48, of Richmond, and Staff Sgt. David Veverka, 25, a University of Maine student from Jamestown, Pa.

All three were with B Company, 3rd Battalion of the 172nd Infantry regiment based in Brewer.

Fraser told his mother, Debra Gosselin of Gardiner, that Veverka pulled him down into their truck just as the bomb exploded as they traveled in a convoy on their way to Mosul.

“He saved Chris’ life,” Gosselin said. “He’s a hero.”

Fraser then administered his own intravenous medications, which he had been taught to do by Kelly, who was a medic.

“Dale taught him how to do that,” Gosselin said. “He’s so grateful. I’m so grateful.”

Fraser told his mother that Kelly, Veverka and he were riding in the front truck of the convoy when they came upon a man with two young children. The man apparently threw a bomb at the truck, which exploded just as Veverka pulled her son down into the vehicle, Gosselin said.

Gosselin said her son, who is a member of the 1136th Transportation Company and was attached to B Company, will soon be flown to a hospital in Texas to continue his recovery.

Kelly’s remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Wednesday.

A public funeral service is scheduled for May 20 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick.

The funeral procession will go to Augusta to the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery for veterans services.