If you think you’re tooth ache sucks and can’t do anything because it hurts, these guys lost limbs and returned to the battlefield. Society, take notes.
One of the biggest concerns for our troops during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom was the potential to be blown up by an IED, an anti-tank mine or other types of explosives.
While IED’s have accounted for up to 2,550 U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, many in the armed forces were amazingly able to survive the havoc they wreaked.
These are four veterans who lost limbs but didn’t let it stop them from returning to combat like badasses:
4. Army Ranger and Sergeant First Class Joseph Kapacziewski
If there is anyone who has exemplified the Ranger motto of “leading the way,” it’s Sergeant First Class Kapacziewski.
In 2005, Kapacziewski was severely injured when an enemy grenade went off just a few inches from him. He suffered severe tissue and nerve damage, and doctors thought he may never walk again. However, the doctors didn’t understand the true grit of an Army Ranger.
IJReview had the honor to talk to Matt Sanders, who served with Kapacziewski and was with him during the attack.
Here’s what Sanders had to say about his brother-in-arms:
“At the hospital he was like I will be back. It was a matter of trying to make it work with the leg he had. With the leg he had, because of the injury he wouldn’t be able to do it. And with a prosthetic he would be able do it.”
“We’re talking about a guy who voluntarily chose to cut his own leg off. Then, he had put his self back through all the selection process as an able body guy to get into the Ranger regiment. He had be able to shoot, move, and communicate with a prosthetic leg.”
“As far as determination goes, he was 100% to the job and profession of an Army Ranger. His motivation was to kick down doors again with his brothers and it was incredibly selfless. He had a high tolerance for morphine so it didn’t even have the effect it needed to kill his pain.”
“For him, it wasn’t about dwelling on his injury. It was about proving that he wouldn’t be sidelined by it. He wanted to prove he was stronger than the grenade that took his leg.”
What an unbelievable display of iron will and courage. These warriors are a perfect example of what it means to go “above and beyond the call of duty.”
3. U.S. Army Captain Daniel Luckett
What happened to Luckett 2008 on Mothers Day is something he will never forget. As he patrolling in his Humvee, his vehicle ran over a roadside bomb.
The blast was so powerful it cut through the door of the Humvee. Luckett gave NPR more grueling details on how the scenario continued to unfold:
“Instantly felt kind of an intense pain in my feet. So when I looked down and saw that they were gone. Heard my radios and one of my squad leaders said, ‘Hey is everybody all right in 1-6 vehicle?’ And I keyed the mike and went, ‘Negative, negative my feet are gone.’”
“In my mind I was like, all right that’s it. You’re done being a platoon leader. You’re going back to the States. You’re done with your Army time.”
However, before touching down again in the states, he made the decision to not let anything hold him back from returning to the battlefield.
Like our other heroes, he recovered and made it back to the fight. In Afghanistan, the native soldiers have honored Luckett by nicknaming him the “One-Legged Warlord of Ashaque.”
Read more: IJReview