SOMERS, N.Y.—In his first week as the leader of his platoon, Victor Prato’s convoy was struck Nov. 13 by a car bomb in Afghanistan, injuring all four on board.
Prato, a 25-year-old Somers High School and Princeton University graduate, was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, with the 82nd Airborne Division in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He and the convoy were completing a routine patrol when the car bomb, affiliated with the Taliban, struck their vehicle.
There are approximately 6,812 miles between Kandahar and Somers, a nine-and-a-half-hour time difference. However, an unusual circumstance allowed that gap to be bridged by a first-hand report on Prato’s condition.
John Crowley, executive officer of Prato’s company, is a fellow Somers High School graduate. The two have been friends since high school, where they played together on the football team. After five years, they coincidentally wound up at Fort Bragg in North Carolina after college, and have maintained their friendship since.
Prato was medevaced to the hospital on the Kandahar Airfield and then sent to Bagram, Afghanistan, the location of another U.S. base, for surgery. Crowley spent all day with Prato at the hospital before he was lifted to Bagram.
“My task force commander asked me to personally break the news to his parents, which was one of the toughest phone calls I’ve ever had to make but absolutely needed to happen,” Crowley said.
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