At the beginning of the 44-day war, Arman Boyakhchyan was a recruit serving in Hadrut. During the retreat on the third day of the war, he was severely wounded: his jaw was broken, his tongue and ear were cut off. He survived heavy bleeding thanks to a fellow serviceman and a priest.

“When I was just drafted, we were quarantined because of the [COVID-19] virus in Martuni 2, after which we were taken to Hadrut. The service went on very well. On the morning of December 27, we went to the cafeteria. It was a normal situation; we were all together and the whole staff [was with us]. We were on our way when the rocket fire started. At that time, we went down into the basement. Then, when our commander of the battalion came, they sounded the alarm, we got everything–weapons and ammunition, and we were taken to the positions,” tells Arman.

In response to our question whether he and his fellow soldiers, being recruits, were able to use weapons, Arman said. “To be honest, I did not know what to do. Then, in a few hours, in a few days we were able to shoot normally. When you have a weapon, you shoot, you try, you learn everything.”

Arman Boyakhchyan was seriously injured on September 30. Speaking to his cousin on the phone the day before, he said he had no hope of returning from Hadrut.

“Our commander was hit. The same fire touched me too. I was seriously injured… I was standing. It was already a retreat; everyone was going back. It was the place where the command was sitting. We had retreated that far. We have already given up those posts. Then our commander said, ‘Retreat!’ His legs were cut off and he was bleeding. Everyone was retreating. And then a shrapnel wave broke and entered into my mouth. My jaw dropped. My tongue was cut off, my ear was cut off. I was bleeding. I had no strength left. I was left alone. There was no one left; I had no hope of surviving. I was lying down and praying. My prayer saved me. I prayed and said, ‘God our Lord, please let me go and reach my father and mother’. Then a Willis  [car] appeared and stopped, a priest came out and one of our boys. I was grabbed and taken away,” Arman recalls.

His mother, Marine Mkrtchyan, tells that she received a call on November 1 from a nurse who said her son was in a hospital. “I asked what happened. Is he alive? What is it? They did not say anything. It was in the hospital that I learned that he had a shrapnel in his head, which was very close to the brain and everything depended on it. When they performed the first operation, they came out and said, ‘We have collected the jaw, we have collected the ear.’ He underwent surgery for six hours. Then when they brought him [to the ward], it was a horrible sight. When I saw my son in that condition… it was very cruel… but it was he that was giving us hope.”

For a long time, Arman could not speak; he communicated with his parents in writing, with paper and a pen. That’s how he told his parents about what happened to him.

Ani Gevorgyan

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