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Flame Resistant War Correspondent


When I was covering the war in Iraq, I saw some people burned alive and others terribly burned. This happened often due to the enemy adding flame accelerants into car bombs and other IEDs.

So, in some parts of the war where there was more flame than other parts, I started wearing two layers of fire retardant trousers and shirts, flame retardant boots, socks, gloves, and the sort of balaclava that race car drivers wear. I would do this in the dead of summer. Along with body armor, it was pretty hot, but not as hot as the fires.

Many people were flash burned and so if you could get through the initial flash, you might be okay if the frags or blast did not get you.

I was in Baghdad on one of the big bases and saw a Soldier with his fingertips all bandaged. I asked something like did he cut off the glove fingertips (to operate weapons), and he said yes and a car bomb burned his fingers when he ducked down inside the humvee hatch but his hands were still up there.

In Afghanistan, the enemy normally did not add fuel to the bombs so I wore only one layer and no balaclava.


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Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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