This is an excerpt from a college entrance essay written by one of the guys in the convoy that Dennis supported on his last flight in Afghanistan in 07. (P.S. Grab a tissue)
"I stared at the sky and prayed my final prayer. "God, bring me home. I am ready," I said to myself. As soon as I was feeling completely comfortable with my death, I felt a hand grab my vest. I was being dragged across the dirt and gravel by someone I did not know. Then I saw a man in the wood line ten meters away firing an assault rifle at us. A bullet hit the shoulder of the man who was dragging me, then hit me in the abdomen and again in the leg. The man dragged me into his humvee and ordered the driver to drive. The gunner of that humvee continued to fire at the enemies in the tree lines. Someone in the truck put a tourniquet around my leg to stop the bleeding while the battle continued to rage around us.
I began to lose hope for our survival. Then all of a sudden, I heard the greatest sound I have ever heard in my life, the sound of jets flying over the battlefield. Two Air Force pilots who just happened to be in our area had intercepted our radio calls for help. They fired .40 mm rounds down both sides of the road, giving us time to escape the kill-zone and make it to the Medevac helicopter to load our wounded. I was placed on the helicopter first, then I saw one of my best friends placed beside me. He was not breathing. I started to break down. I thought he was dead but he was just unconscious. I saw many of my friends wounded that day but we fought hard. We did not give up.
As a child I had always wanted to be the "Hero". That is not the case anymore. I owe my life to a true Hero. I am thankful every day just to be alive, to have a second chance at life, to begin a new chapter with the pride and confidence that I learned from the Army and my men. I have a newfound respect for something much higher than myself, and the belief I can be great in everything I do and never surrender, never accept defeat."
Yeah, the deployments and the separations suck, but this, this right here, is why Dennis puts on that uniform every day.
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