my sides have left the orbit

anonymous asked:

I'm sure you've answered this before but I can't find it anywhere, what's the story behind having one eye? (If you're cool with me asking)

So, I actually don’t think I’ve told this story on here before. I don’t know, I’ve told it so many times they all kinda run together! To do this, I have to tell the whole story- so here it goes:

4 June 2006, near Taji, Iraq: After being out on a presence patrol for a little over 24 hours, my crew and I had just finished putting the tank to bed, and were getting ourselves cleaned up. We’d gone to eat lunch, and I had just returned from the showers. I was all set to take a nap before dinner, when my platoon leader started pounding on my door. He told me a sad tale of his piece of shit tank being broken, and informed me he was taking my tank instead. I told him to take a long walk off a short pier, my tank wasn’t going anywhere, with anyone other than me. When you’re signed for a piece of equipment worth more than all of the money I’d ever made, and probably ever would make, you tend to be a little stingy with it. He then proceeded to try and pull rank on me, which any other time would have been hilarious. So I told him he could ride on it, but I was going along. My driver told him the same thing- go figure! We hauled ass, got ready to go, and found ourselves rolling back out the gate about twenty minutes later. My LT, myself gunning, my driver and our platoon medic riding in the loader’s hatch. I don’t remember any of this, I just know it because I’ve been told so many times by the guys who were there. We were almost to our RP (release point), when a very large IED was remote detonated under my tank. We were probably going 45-50 mph, so our momentum carried us over the newly formed crater where a fifty foot section of paved road used to be. My wing man was in the lead position, and because it was a canal road, with huge (in this case, dry) canals on each side, he had to eventually pivot steer to turn around, all while under fire from RPG’s and various other small arms. The enemies complex ambush really turned against them at that point- out of thirty two fighters in the ambush, two were captured. All the rest died, I’m sure “gloriously”, in place. My platoon leader and our medic both died of wounds, my driver suffered a pretty bad TBI and shrapnel wounds. Me? I had almost every bone in my body broken, to include twelve vertebrae, my skull and all four extremities. My left orbital socket was shattered, and that shot fragments (along with a little shrapnel) throughput the left side of my face. One little bitty piece of bone partially severed the optic nerve in my left eye, making it impossible to save and forcing them to have to remove my left eye, in order to save the vision in my right eye. Almost a year later, I was up and walking. I spent almost five years in physical and cognitive therapy total, and here I am ten years later. It’s only this year that I’ve been able to start running again. That’s actually really good, considering that for a long time the doctors didn’t think I’d ever walk again. Now I’m retired, and enjoying life to the fullest. I owe my guys that didn’t make it back at the very least that. They gave up their tomorrows, now I live mine as if it’s the last one I’ll have. Hope that wasn’t too long winded! Any questions, from you or anyone else, I’ll be happy to answer if I can. Thanks for message!