10 Years

A decade. Nearly 1/3rd of my lifetime.

Ten. Years.

On a Sunday, 10 years ago today, B co. HQ element rolled out just like so many Sundays before. Just a routine cruise around our sector, stopping at some key locations.

However, this Sunday was not like the others. Not too far outside of the Taji gate, we drove underneath an overpass where an IED was suspended. That IED detonated, hitting me with a single ball bearing at the C2 vertebrae, instantly paralyzing me.

I have been called hero, and received accolades and praise, of which I scarcely deserve. The true heroes are my brothers who got me back to Taji, alive. The medics and docs at the TMC that got me packaged and shipped out to Balad. All the people who moved me through the echelons of care, to get me back to the United States, the nurses and specialists at the Minneapolis and Seattle VA SCIU.

I simply forgot to duck.

So many elements fell correctly into place that day that kept me alive. God’s hands were truly at work, and there is no other reason I am still here today.

To the brother that saved my life, I can never repay you. All I can do is say thank you, and if there is anything you ever need, I will do everything in my ability to help you.

The person to whom I owe so much, and the reason I’m still here, and in the capacity that I am is my incredible wife, and mother to our children, Nicole Ralston. Without her by my side, I don’t know where I would’ve ended up. The amount of love, compassion, understanding, patience, and fortitude that she has is absolutely unparalleled.

On this, the 10th anniversary of my injury, I do have a request. There are so many things I don’t know about that day. I know it be may be painful, but if you could write where you were and what you were doing/what was happening when I was injured, I would appreciate it greatly. If it’s not something you wish to write in the comments, if you could please message me that would be great as well. At the bottom of the page, there are some pictures of me in the Balad hospital, and some X-rays and CT scans of the shrapnel in my neck. These pictures might be a bit upsetting.

This being the ten-year anniversary of my injury, it will be the last post that I write about it. Everybody knows the story by now, and if you don’t please feel free to ask.

Thank you, and I love you all. Be well, and be well to one another. None of us got here alone, so be grateful for the people you have. And if you do feel alone, please reach out.

Micha 7:8 – Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.

“We few. We happy few. We band of brothers, for he today That sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother.” ― William Shakespeare, Henry V

A couple of the guys came to see me in Balad.
The ball bearing stopped dead center in my spinal cord.

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