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Staff Sergeant Frank McCaskill plays his horn for the Fort Riley ceremonies and that’s exactly what his mission was when the 1st Infantry Divison band deployed to Iraq in mid-January, but on one night home, things took a turn for the worst.

“We were not too far from our destination when we got hit by an IED (improvised explosive device),” McCaskill says.

Because of their bravery on that night, McCaskill and the four other band members in the convoy are being given the combat action badge.

“I was half asleep and all it was a loud boom outside the vehicle,” Specialist Tristan Calabrese says as he recalls the night. “I didn’t think too much of it. I didn’t realize it had hit our vehicle.” However when he stepped outside of the vehicle, he realized he was wrong. “The main blast went right underneath us.”

It’s a night Calabrese will never forget. “Surprised me how quick it happened,” he says.

Even though they had been trained for something like this, he still never expected he’d need that training.

“I was thinking about all the videos they’d shown us and how every time I watched one of those I always thought, well, that will never be me,” he says.

Source: Lindsey Elliott for KTKA.

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