By Elaine Forman
Lcpl. Chris Bogner, a 22-year-old Marine from Miles City, is in critical condition in a hospital in Germany after suffering injuries from an exploding IED in Afghanistan Wednesday.
Bogner, the son of Keith and Connie Bogner of Miles City, graduated from Custer County District High School in 2008. His brother, Kenny, also is a Marine but is out of the Corps now.
Chris is in critical condition and has a lot of shrapnel, but his doctor is positive about his recovery.
Connie's sister, Sheila Rasmussen of Oklahoma, said Monday by phone that Chris is on a ventilator. As is common with IED (Improvised Explosive Device) injuries, the explosion gives the lungs a concussion, and they stop working and collapse.
Chris's doctor in Germany invented a ventilator specifically for this kind of injury. It is used to help the patient while he slowly regains strength in his lungs and they begin working again, Sheila said.
Chris, who will be 23 next month, joined the Marines in February 2009. He went to Afghanistan in March and is part of the 1st Battalion 7th Marines.
At 7 a.m. Wednesday the family received a call that he was injured, but they were given no details.
At 2 a.m. Saturday they received word that he arrived in Germany, and at 6 a.m. they received a call that the Marines had booked their flight, which the military paid.
Soon they were flown out and were in Germany by Sunday. The Marines arranged for a liaison who drives them around and helps them a great deal.
Sheila said the family feels God has intervened in so many ways. For example, Kenny was traveling around in Europe and was scheduled to be in Germany on Friday, almost the same time Chris got there.
Sheila said Connie told her it is horrible at the hospital because so many servicemen and women are hurt. Despite the extent of Chris's injuries, she feels it's amazing that he still has all of his limbs, unlike many of the other injured military personnel.
Sheila started a Facebook page called "United States Marine Lcpl Christopher Bogner Support page" on Saturday.
In nine hours, she said there were more than 400 people who had joined the group, "and we were amazed at that. Now there are 1,300 people."
On Sunday the family posted the following:
"First of all thank you so much for the overwhelming support and PRAYERS for Chris. I can't wait for him to see this. We are here in Germany now and wanted to update you on his condition. First of all we are encouraged by what we've seen and also from what the doctors are telling us. He is in critical condition and totally sedated and will be for awhile. The most serious issue is his lungs that were collapsed and damaged from the concussion of the blast and he is on a special machine to do the lung work while his heal. He has some swelling of the brain and and also has shrapnel still remaining that will be removed once healthier, one piece in particular that is lodged next to his spine and nerve but the docs seemed pretty positive about that. He took some to the right eye area but not sure about future damage, docs were pretty positive about that also. One piece missed his main artery in his neck by 5mm.
“The care here is amazing! It's as if thousands have been praying for him? Thank you all so much!!! We are optimistic but it's still very serious and this warrior still needs all you prayer warriors to keep it up. We will try and keep you posted as often as we can. Thanks again, Keith, Connie and Kenny."
On Monday morning, Chris's Aunt, Bonnie Sprague, posted that Chris is doing well on the lung machine and they may try taking him off within two days to see how he does.
"He does have a lot of stitches and bandages, but he looks so good to (his parents)!! He is at Regensburg University Hospital in Regensburg, Germany," she wrote.
Sheila said the family asks for prayers for Chris and all servicemen and women.
Published July 18, 2012