August O’Niell: Sheepdog, Pararescueman, Amputee

 
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August O’Niell: Sheepdog, Pararescueman, Amputee

One of the best parts of the movie American Sniper is the “Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs” speech:

No one more epitomizes the sheepdog than August O’Niell as this story from Daily Caller discusses:

When August O’Niell, a member of an elite special forces group, woke up from routine surgery, it only took one look at his mother’s face to tell something went horribly wrong.

She was with the doctor. “Are you awake? Are you able to talk now?” the doctor asked. “I have woken you up halfway through the surgery. There was so much scar tissue …”

O’Niell had already endured 19 grueling surgeries in the three-and-a-half years since a rifle round mangled his leg while he was on deployment in Afghanistan. He woke up hoping this 20th surgery would finally allow him to have a functional knee. But he quickly learned his left leg would never fully function again.

Well, after 10 minutes of what he called “boo-hoo” time he made the call:

O’Niell was an Air Force pararescueman, a para-jumper or “PJ,” as they are known in the service. He was the elite of the elite, in charge of rescuing the most drastically injured troops, and even top special operators, in dire circumstances. He loved being a PJ, and wanted nothing more than to be back in the field, jumping out of helicopters and saving wounded comrades. The diagnosis he now faced was tough, but without missing a beat, he made up his mind.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m gonna have it amputated,” he said.

You should go read the entire article, but O’Niell is on his way back to being a PJ.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.