Sgt. Joshua Echtinaw's hands wouldn't work.
The 21-year-old Omahan had successfully pulled the tourniquet from his shoulder pocket just as they taught over and over in training.
But this was no drill. It was June 18, a firefight raged on this makeshift base deep within Taliban country, and the explosion had just blown Echtinaw off his feet.
He had felt the telltale pop of shrapnel slicing into skin. He could see the left pants leg of his Army uniform darkening with blood.
But he couldn't get the tourniquet tightened around his leg, couldn't get the bleeding stanched, couldn't keep from feeling fuzzy and starting to fade and ...
"He's been hit!" yelled one of Echtinaw's Army buddies, who had happened to peer into the temporary barracks where Echtinaw had fallen. "Get the medic!"
He took his own tourniquet - one of two that's now standard issue on every U.S. Army combat uniform - and easily stanched the bleeding that might have killed Echtinaw had he been a soldier in World War II or Korea.