Army Spc. David Conway II was walking back to his vehicle Sunday afternoon in Sharqat, Iraq.
After a peaceful meeting about helping city officials there, the 22-year-old 2005 Lawrence High School graduate suddenly saw his afternoon spiral into chaos. An improvised explosive device detonated and injured himself, six other troops and two civilians, including a translator traveling with the group.
“They had just talked to the city’s mayor and council to do something with their city as they were walking back to their vehicles,” said Conway’s grandfather, Isaac Conway, who lives in Lawrence.
David Conway suffered a broken right leg and a broken heel. Shrapnel also cut into his legs and hand, but he is expected to make a full recovery, his grandfather said.
Conway was serving his second deployment in Iraq with the 25th Infantry Division, which is based on Hawaii.
“They hadn’t really had any major incidents until this,” Isaac Conway said.
According to a letter to family members from Lt. Col. Raul E. Gonzalez, most soldiers injured in the incident were expected to rejoin their unit this week, except for Conway and another soldier, who is also expected to make a full recovery.
Army doctors have performed surgery on Conway’s heel, and they were waiting to transfer him from a base near Baghdad to Germany. Family members said eventually he would be flown to the United States for rehab. He also has a cast on his right leg. Doctors have told Conway he can walk again in six weeks.
“It could have been worse. We’re thankful that he is recovering. He’s in good reparable condition,” Conway’s grandfather said.
Isaac and Betty Conway, David’s grandmother, live in Lawrence along with the soldier’s father, David Conway, and stepmother, Kristie Conway.
“You don’t want anybody hurt, as far as things go. We’re just thankful that he survived and is going to be able to walk again,” his father said.
The Army specialist is married to Ashley Vielma, of Honolulu. CNN reported earlier this week that the blast was the first major attack on U.S. troops since combat troops began withdrawing from major Iraqi cities on June 30.