Tuesday, June 30, 2009

US Wounded Warriors Return to Iraq

A friend of mine asked here recently how Canadian and US programs aimed at helping wounded soldiers recover compare and contrast. That's an interesting question and one that I'll be doing some research on. While thinking about it today, I chanced to come across this piece from the US Armed Forces Press Service about a program allowing severely wounded soldiers to return to theatre as a means of attaining closure (I hate that word but it seems apropos here) on their experience, which I would think is an important tool in fighting the long-term effects of PTSD). MP+

Wounded Warriors Return to Iraq
American Forces Press Service

Left to right; U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Brown, retired Staff Sgt. Bradley Gruetzner, and Sgt. Christopher A. Burrell, soldiers wounded in combat while deployed to Iraq, walk through “Hero’s Highway” at Air Force Theater Hospital before returning to Camp Victory after a visit to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, June 25, 2009. Brown, Gruetner, Burrell, and four other soldiers had the opportunity to return to Iraq and to visit the places they once served. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Brian A. Barbour

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq, June 29, 2009 – Six wounded soldiers, all amputees, returned here last week hoping to close the door on the combat that changed them forever.

The last time Sgt. Christopher A. Burrell was in Iraq, he was pulled from a burning vehicle in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood. A tourniquet applied by another soldier saved his life, but a nurse here at the Air Force Theater Hospital had to break the tragic news—his left leg was gone, taken by an explosively formed projectile.

Now, almost a year and a half later, and after months of rehabilitation and physical therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Burrell returned to Iraq with five other amputee combat veterans as part of Operation Proper Exit.

”I don’t remember much, but I remember my nurse,” Burrell said. ”Shelly. She was an angel, there to comfort me when I was in a difficult spot.“

Operation Proper Exit, a United Service Organizations pilot program sponsored by the Army and the Troops First Foundation, allows soldiers wounded in combat to return to Iraq. The goal of the program is to give the soldiers an opportunity for closure, and to see the progress made in securing and stabilizing the country, Burrell said.

Read the whole story here.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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