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Walter Rodgers: Evacuating B-52 bomb victims

(CNN) -- Two U.S. Special Operations soldiers were killed and at least 20 others wounded when an errant bomb from a U.S. B-52 exploded north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, U.S. military officials said Wednesday.

CNN's Walter Rodgers is stationed at a U.S. base just south of Kandahar. He filed this report.

RODGERS: Flights of U.S. Marine helicopters from this base in the southern Afghan desert shuttled back and forth between here and an area north of Kandahar where a B-52 bomb went astray, killing two Americans and wounding 20 others. An untold number of anti-Taliban forces were also killed.

Two U.S. Marine Cobra attack helicopters flew escort for the medevac choppers. The helicopters brought both the injured Americans and the wounded Afghans to this U.S. Marine base, which has 10 Navy doctors on site.

The American wounded were immediately transferred to a C-130 Hercules and medevacced to other U.S. military hospitals in the area for treatment. The Afghan wounded are being treated here, in their own country, as this Marine forward base.

CNN's Walter Rodgers is with a group of Marines whose job is protecting a base from which other units have launched towards Kandahar (December 5)

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A Marine spokesman told the news media pool: "We treat our allies the same way we treat ourselves. And certainly for anyone fighting alongside us, we have available all our medical and staff facilities."

There is a Navy field surgical unit here situated in three tents and a warehouse on this desert base. The U.S. media pool on base was very tightly controlled, but we were able to see some of the 20 Afghan wounded that were brought here. We saw one with an arm in a sling being escorted to and from the base latrine.

Heavy B-52 bombers headed to Kandahar, like the one involved in this mishap, are regular sights above the Afghan desert. Normally, the B-52s were welcome visions with their white contrails in the dawn sky. ... Today, one of their bombs went off course, killing those two Americans and triggering a large medical evacuation of Afghan and American wounded.


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