The 10th rotation of the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan was one of the most tragic – seven soldiers were killed. “The risk is there, but you just don’t think about death. You don’t think it can be you. You don’t think that you can be this heavily injured soldier with a high percentage of health impairment,” Andrzej says.
It was to be a routine patrol of the “Bravo” Combat Group. A column of several IFVs were on their way back to the base from an Afghan village where they left humanitarian aid, only one kilometer away. In front of the vehicle under command of Sergeant Skrajny, the IED exploded. The blast broke his legs, and almost torn his feet off. A surgeon who operated him decided against amputation, and owing to this decision – as well as to the long, arduous and dangerous operation he conducted – Andrzej can walk again.
He stood on his feet for the first time six months after the accident. For another several month, he walked with crutches. Over seven years have passed and the wounds healed, but the complications remained. “I feel the pain all the time”, Andrzej admits.
Today he serves in the 15th Giżycka Mechanized Brigade. He says he would like to go on a mission again, because – as many other soldiers – he got the “missionary” syndrome. However, he will not go for his wife and two kids.
His injuries limit his choice of sport disciplines: he cannot run or jump. But he can do other, such as scuba diving. He cooperates with Podwodnik association and helps to train students from military classes. He also likes shooting: he won a brown badge, and participates in annual shooting competition for injured veterans organized on the Veteran’s Day. He also has plans to train himself in dynamic and point shooting.
He has been getting ready for the Invictus Games for several months; two or three hours a day of swimming and shooting. He says archery is very relaxing, and he considers himself quite good at it. “The aiming rules are similar to gun shooting: first you set two points in line, than you release an arrow,” he explains.
The participation in the Invictus Games additionally motivates him to intensive trainings which help him get better results. “Each of us tries to reach deeper and do his best,” he ensures.
Health impairment: 56%
Missions: Syria 2004-2005, PMC Afghanistan 3rd and 10th rotation
Discipline: swimming, sitting volleyball, archery
autor zdjęć: Michał Niwicz