A Brainerd soldier was shot and wounded while on patrol in Iraq Sunday, his family said Monday.
Sgt. Eric Bock, 25, a 1998 Brainerd High School graduate, became the first member of the Minnesota Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 194th Armor, based in Brainerd, to be wounded by gunfire while serving in Iraq. Bock, who is a gunner in an armored Humvee, was shot in the right arm while out on patrol. He is now recovering from the gunshot wound and will remain in Iraq, returning to duty when his injury heals.
The 152 soldiers in the Brainerd-based unit were deployed Oct. 16, 2004. They were sent for 12 months of "boots on the ground" duty near Baghdad in early January.
Sgt. Eric Bock will return to duty when he recovers.
Bock and his wife, Cassy, have a 2-year-old son, Bryce. Bock called his wife and parents, Dennis and Rhonda Bock of Brainerd, about noon Sunday to tell them he had been shot. Another soldier in the Humvee was believed to have suffered minor injuries from shrapnel but no information was available from military officials. Bock, a gunner in the military Humvee, said he was shot by a lone combatant using an AK-47 in a vehicle about 30 feet away, his family said.
"He's doing really well. We're just in shock but we're glad it isn't any worse," said Rhonda Bock of her son, Eric. "I knew it was bad news when he called because his voice didn't sound the same."
Cassy Bock, 23, said when her husband called her about the incident she was working at Cub Foods in Brainerd. She was told the telephone was for her and it was an emergency.
"I didn't think anything of it," said Cassy of the call. "I froze when he told me what happened. He told me, 'I just called to let you know that I am all right. I was shot in my right forearm.'"
Bock said her husband couldn't tell her much about what happened. She said that was hard to deal with.
"I can't believe this is happening to me," Cassy said when she first heard the news. "I just froze and I cried for a long time."
Eric Bock joined the National Guard while a student at BHS. He works at Best Buy in Baxter.
"It just kind of seems unreal because you can't see him," said Rhonda, of her son being wounded. "He's so far away. It seems unreal."
(Staff Writer Jennifer Stockinger contributed to this story)
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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