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October 10, 2005
Although he has been 12 years working as a soldier professional, only in 2003 he met the pain caused by a shot in Tibú (Norte de Santander).
That day at 8:00 pm they were informed that they should leave in search of a encampment that lodged about 80 terrorists. Two counter guerrilla platoons were assigned to that mission. They left in two trucks up to where the terrain conditions allowed the trucks to move. Almost at one am the journey began on foot, amid a bushy jungle, accompanied by an intense rain that lasted the whole night.
Only until the other day, around 5:00 am, they took a rest. Amid the breakfast Ferreira and his 24 partners listened to shots very near to the place they were. They noticed that it was an attack to the other counter guerrilla unit that had carried out registrations in the area. Not much time after they had to support their partners.
Ferreira acted as radio operator. Reason why he became for the enemy the most valuable objective, because he had the control of the communications that guided the troops in the area of operations and who in a certain moment would request earth and air support.
The radio weighs 19 pounds approximately and it is indispensable in any patrol. The platoon radio operator is always the same person, and after several years of experience its performance in the area and in combat situations will be better. For that reason Ferreira affirms: "The radio is the life of the patrol".
Amid the combat, when the outpost was harassed, Ferreira was attacked. "They hit me, they hit me, but I am well". He had received a shot in his right arm, but he could carry on with the patrol communications.
While the soldiers advanced and soldierâ€™s Ferreira pain increased, the platoon, through the military communications radio, received worrying information: the enemy's communication had been intercepted and they would probably have to face an ambush. When the radio operator informed that to his commander, another shot broke the headphone of the handset.
It was there when he realized that he was the terroristâ€™s objective. The enemy had to kill him, to weaken the platoon and impede the request for support. Amid his desire to repair the radio he received a new shot, this time it was of an AK-47 rifle.
The power of the shot made the bullet pass through his right arm and perforated him a lung. He was aided immediately. "I drown, take off this, I cannot breathe". The weight of the communications and the wound hindered him the breathing. Meanwhile their partners responded the enemyâ€™s fire.
Soldier Fernando Ferreira was hurt at 7:00 in the morning and only until 13:00 hours he was evacuated of the area. He was hospitalized in the San José de Cúcuta Clinic. Today, two years after his wounds, he recovers while he studies; he is qualified and serves the Army in an administrative position.
Other moments in his life
Soldier Ferreira, contrary to many other histories in the Army, never dreamt of being a soldier, since he was 13 years he had done works, never related with the military. He worked as a peasant in Rionegro, Santander; he was a motorcycle mechanic in Bucaramanga, his native city, when he turned 19 years he decided to do his military service.
Old Baldy battle one of the most important battles of the national Army.
When he was a regular soldier he gave his word to stay in the Institution. So after he ended his obligatory military service in the 'Luciano Dâ€™lhuyer' Infantry Battalion, in San Vicente de Chucurí, Santander, he incorporated as a Professional Soldier in the Colombian Army Fifth Brigade.
After a month of vacations in his home, in the "beautiful city", one night before he had present himself at the military unit, he said to his family that he gave his word and that due to that reason he should return. His mom cried, but supported him in that moment and what she has been doing during this last 12 years.
His first post was in Barrancabermeja city where carried out his re training. The first mission assigned to him was to guard the biggest oil complex in Colombia: the Ecopetrol refinery; he was there when he met his childrenâ€™s mom, they are his biggest happiness. Their two small sons Jobby Fernando and Cristian Alejandro admire the work he carries out and they like the military life. In a future they want to do the same thing, but at the moment they can only imitate their father in certain things, like in the hair cut.
After being hurt in combat and being partially recovered in a Cúcuta City clinic, the soldier Ferreira was transferred to the Sanity Battalion, with the purpose of carrying out a complex rehabilitation process.
After six months of intense therapies he recovered the mobility of his left arm however he continuous in treatments for the recovery of his left lung.
These physical inconveniences have not been obstacle for soldier Ferreira to continue serving his Army and his country. At the same time he receives his medical treatment, he works at the Army Command, specifically in the information and press office, where he monitors the radio news. His work is fundamental since it allows maintaining a complete and up-to-date registration of the information related with the Force and to help in the invigoration of the Institutionâ€™s image.
But Soldier Ferreira aspires to do something else, for that reason soon he will start to study graphic reporting and in this way qualify himself to be every day better and to be able to offer a better future to his children.
Photos SV. William Castrillón.
Andrea Grisales Montaña.