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Bost injured in Baghdad blast

Thursday, March 17, 2005

(Photo)
DENNIE BOST
Former Salem police officer is training Iraqi police recruits

A former Salem police officer who volunteered to go to Iraq to train other police officers was talking to his wife March 9 from the Al Sadeer Hotel in Baghdad when he had a premonition.

"I think I'm going to close the curtain on my hotel room window," Charles "Dennie" Bost said to his wife, Deborah.

It was a decision that may have saved Bost's life.

Minutes later a garbage truck, laced with explosives, blew up outside the hotel, killing four Iraqis and shattering the windows in the hotel.

(Photo)
Terror attack: Iraqi officials sift through the remains of a garbage truck that exploded March 9 near the Al Sadeer Hotel in Baghdad.
Bost, who was knocked unconscious by the blast, did not receive serious injuries from the shards of broken glass because of the closed curtain, according to his wife.

"The Lord just took care of him," Deborah Bost said. "He wasn't wearing a shirt. The curtain stopped the glass from penetrating Dennie's body."

Bost, a 12-year veteran of the Salem Police Department, was transported from the scene by helicopter to an Army hospital were he received treatment for minor injuries to his head and a cut on his elbow, Deborah Bost said.

She said her husband returned to his hotel room the same day.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, 37 Americans were injured in the blast, but none were killed. Six of the more seriously injured Americans were transported to a hospital in Germany.

The Al Sadeer Hotel is home to several Western contractors, including those from the United States.

Terrorist leader Abu Masab Al Zarqarwi, along with his Iraqi al-Qaeda terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the blast.

According to an Internet press release, Zarqarwi said the Al Sadeer "was the hotel of the Jews" and "Jihad warriors had to free the land of the two rivers from the Western infidels."

Bost was hired to serve as an international police liaison for one year by Dyn Corp. Over 500 police officers were hired by Dyn Corp to train Iraqi police recruits.

Several of the instructors opted to return home after the blast, but not Bost.

"I traded my city of Salem police badge for an Iraqi mission badge," Bost said. "I'm not going home. They've made me mad now."

A plastic sheet now covers the hole in Bost's room where the window used to be. Bost was e-mailing his wife the next night from his room when insurgents began firing shots near the hotel. Several times Bost had to stop e-mailing because of the violence outside the hotel.

"We knew something like this could happen when Dennie made the decision to go," Deborah Bost said. "He feels like the Lord wants him to do what he is doing."

Deborah Bost's sacrifices since the war in Iraq began have been extraordinary.

She and Dennie's only son, Aaron, a captain in the Army's 1st Armored Division, was deployed in Iraq shortly after the invasion in the spring of 2003.

Aaron Bost, a 1996 Salem High School graduate, was stationed in Iraq for 7 months and came under enemy fire on numerous occasions.

"I was so scared when Aaron went to Iraq," Deborah Bost said. "He's so gung-ho and not afraid of anything."

Letters and e-mails from her son brought Deborah little comfort.

"Do you know what it is like to have explosions wake you up at night?" Aaron Bost asked his mother in an e-mail after his arrival in Iraq. "I know what this is like because I and my brothers and sisters in arms have experienced these things so that most of you never have to."

Aaron Bost returned last year unharmed to his base in Frankfurt, Germany.

Now Dennie Bost is following a path already blazed by his son. But before he left on his mission, Bost made a promise to his son.

"I'm going to look for your footprints in the sand," Bost said.

He said he has been confined to his hotel room since his arrival in Baghdad three weeks ago. He said the situation in Baghdad is much worse than what is being reported in the media.

"But we have to finish the job," Bost said.

Deborah Bost said her husband's mission is to train police officers in Ramadi, but she was unsure when he would be deployed.

Until then he will wait and pray.

Dyn Corp has brought in neurologists, psychologists and chaplains to help its employees deal with the physiological stress of being in a war zone, Bost said.

Despite the struggles, Deborah Bost expects her husband to come through.

"Dennie is a very spiritual man," she said. "Whatever happens over there, good or bad, is the will of God and he and I have already accepted that."



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