Faces From the Front for February 9, 2009 - Capt. Joe Bogart
Current Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Engineer Battalion
Current Position: Battalion Targeting Officer
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Joint Base Balad Iraq, (Just north of Baghdad)
Hometown: Warsaw, Mo.
Years of Service: 19
On the morning of October 6, 2006, the Soldiers of the 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 5th Engineer Battalion were nearing the end of the last combat mission of their deployment. The group had been clearing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from Baghdad roads since November 2005 to create safer traveling conditions for Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi people who used the thoroughfares daily.
At approximately 11 a.m., as then-2nd Lt. Joe Bogart led his platoon though this final mission, a large IED consisting of four 155 millimeter artillery rounds detonated on the passenger side of the fourth vehicle in the patrol. The rounds exploded just four feet away from where Bogart sat in his command vehicle.
Bogart's injuries were severe. He sustained several facial fractures from the exploding shrapnel and lost his right eye. He was medically evacuated to Forward Operating Base Anaconda, before being sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. His wife Christine flew in from their home in Missouri to be by his side for the five surgeries that would restore part of his vision.
The Army offered Bogart medical retirement, but he declined. He felt he had too much left to do.
"I have something to prove to myself," Bogart says. "I have to prove that I am not a coward, that I am not scared of getting hurt, that the guy on the other end of that IED didn't get me, and that Joe Bogart is still here." Although legally blind, with glasses he has 20/40 vision in his remaining eye, which qualifies him to operate a pistol by military standards. He credits the support he received from his wife, fellow Soldiers and leaders with enabling him to continue on his path.
Currently on his second deployment to Iraq, Bogart serves as Battalion Targeting Officer for the 5th Engineer Battalion. Having earned the promotion to Captain on the day he deployed to his current tour of duty, he now synchronizes and focuses operations for the Battalion's route clearance and construction in support of coalition forces.
With the true spirit of a warrior, Bogart focuses on the road ahead, rather than the path behind. In October, he competed in and finished the Army 10-miler road race on Joint Base Balad. He plans to stay in the Army and attend the Captain's Career Course with the goal of commanding an Engineer Company. Bogart lives in Waynesville, Mo. with his wife and son.