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History, Geography, & Military Discuss Wounded in Iraq, double-amputee returns to war at the Political Forums; All I can say is I salute this Warrior and there are many others like him. Read the full story. ...

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Old 09-25-2010, 07:04 PM
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Default Wounded in Iraq, double-amputee returns to war

All I can say is I salute this Warrior and there are many others like him. Read the full story.

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Wounded in Iraq, double-amputee returns to war

By TODD PITMAN, Associated Press Writer Todd Pitman, Associated Press Writer 29 mins ago

ASHOQEH, Afghanistan When a bomb exploded under Dan Luckett's Army Humvee in Iraq two years ago blowing off one of his legs and part of his foot the first thing he thought was: "That's it. You're done. No more Army for you."

But two years later, the 27-year-old Norcross, Georgia, native is back on duty a double-amputee fighting on the front lines of America's Afghan surge in one of the most dangerous parts of this volatile country.

Luckett's remarkable recovery can be attributed in part to dogged self-determination. But technological advances have been crucial: Artificial limbs today are so effective, some war-wounded like Luckett are not only able to do intensive sports like snow skiing, they can return to active duty as fully operational soldiers. The Pentagon says 41 American amputee veterans are now serving in combat zones worldwide.

Luckett was a young platoon leader on his first tour in Iraq when an explosively formed penetrator a bomb that hurls an armor-piercing lump of molten copper ripped through his vehicle on a Baghdad street on Mother's Day 2008.

His Humvee cabin instantly filled with heavy gray smoke and the smell of burning diesel and molten metal. Luckett felt an excruciating pain and a "liquid" his blood pouring out of his legs. He looked down and saw a shocking sight: his own left foot sheared off above the ankle and his right boot a bloody mangle of flesh and dust.

Still conscious, he took deep breaths and made a deliberate effort to calm down.

A voice rang out over the radio his squad leader checking in.

"1-6, is everybody all right?" the soldier asked, referring to Luckett's call-sign.

"Negative," Luckett responded. "My feet are gone."

He was evacuated by helicopter to a Baghdad emergency room, flown to Germany, and six days after the blast, he was back in the U.S.

As his plane touched down at Andrew's Air Force Base, he made a determined decision. He was going to rejoin the 101st Airborne Division any way he could.

.............................................Skipp ed Some............................................

He rejoined his unit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and told his battalion commander he wanted to return to duty "only if I could be an asset, not a liability," he recalled.

Months later, he passed a physical fitness test to attain the Expert Infantryman's Badge. It required running 12 miles (19 kilometers) in under three hours with a 35-pound (16-kilogram) backpack. It was a crucial moment, Luckett said, "because I knew if I can get this badge, then there's nothing they can say that I'm not capable of doing."

The Army agreed, and promoted him to captain.

In May, he deployed to Afghanistan.

On his first patrol, wearing 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of gear and body armor, Luckett slipped and fell down. But when he looked around, everybody else was falling, too
......................................Skipped Some More...........................................

Capt. Brant Auge, Luckett's 30-year-old company commander, said Luckett was as capable as every soldier in his company, and treated no different.

"He's a soldier who just happens to be missing a leg," said Auge, who is from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. "He tries to play it down as much as possible, he doesn't like to bring a lot of attention to it."

On one of those early patrols, Luckett took to a knee and his pants leg rode up a little bit, revealing the prosthetic limb to a shocked group of Afghan soldiers nearby, Auge said. One gave him the nickname, the "One-legged Warrior of Ashoqeh."
.............................................Conti nued.............................................. ....
Wounded in Iraq, double-amputee returns to war - Yahoo! News

More on Afghanistan

Massive Afghan iron ore deposit up for tender again Reuters
Foreign soldier killed in Afghan bomb attack AFP
US strategists seek Afghan fixes outside the box AP

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