No one remained conscious when the Improvised Explosive Device exploded under Spc. Adrian Perez's Humvee in the Wardak province of Afghanistan last Sunday.


"I really don't remember much from the incident," Perez said by phone on Friday. "We were driving down the road and I heard a large boom and everything went black and dusty."


Perez, 19, was thrown from his vehicle and, when he awoke, his medic training kicked in immediately. The 2009 Hesperia High School graduate immediately began checking his fellow passengers and administering first aid.


Several other members of his unit were badly banged up -- one had multiple fractures to his face, and another complained that he couldn't feel his legs -- but everyone was alive. "Doc" Perez got the other members of 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Bravo Company stabilized and helped load the soldiers into other Humvees, to transport them a proper medical facility.


"The company commander already had a bird on the way," Perez said.


Sitting in the back of a vehicle on the way there, Perez's body finally gave out, and he blacked out.


Now, he's at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, undergoing further tests. Although he's physically intact, the Army believes Perez has suffered a traumatic brain injury, and the consequences of that IED in Afghanistan may not show up for months or years. But for the most part, he feels fine, outside of some numbness in his right hand and persistent headaches.


"Everybody is alive, everybody is OK," he said. Even the soldier who could not feel his legs after the accident will walk again, although he'll need surgery to repair a fractured vertebra.


Perez, who has a wife and young son waiting for him in Victorville, was deployed to Afghanistan in October 2010 and has told his parents that things had been getting hairier of late.


"He'll call me once in a while and he'll tell me there's a lot more action there," Perez's father Gilbert said on Friday.


When he originally enlisted, Perez hoped to be an air traffic controller, but the military wouldn't assign him to that duty, given his colorblindness. But he's grown to love his mission as a medic, his parents say, and he's considered enlisting in nursing or medical school once his enlistment ends.


For now, Perez's future is up in the air. Depending on the results of the military's tests, he could be sent back to his unit in Afghanistan, or serve out the rest of his tour at his unit's home base, Ft. Polk in Louisiana.


"Yesterday, he called me," said Gilbert Perez. "'Is it wrong to [me] to want to go back and be with [my] boys?'"


Wherever he goes, it'll be as a recipient of the Purple Heart, for the injuries he's suffered in the line of duty.


"I was excited, but at the same time, I never really planned on getting this one," said Perez.


Despite marrying an Air Force veteran, Perez's mother Sandra cried when he joined the Army and cried when he deployed to Afghanistan and especially cried when she got the news that he'd been in the IED attack. But her son tells her not to worry.


"'Mom, you raised a beast,'" he told her on the phone, she said. "So you know he was good."


"If [Perez's younger brother] Nick came to me tomorrow and said 'I'm joining,'" said Gilbert Perez, "I would support him, 100 percent."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.