SFC Adin Salkanovic “The Decision Was Not Up For Debate…”

June 26, 2007

When I hear stories like this, I am always amazed at the determination and resiliency of the men and women who serve in our Country’s Armed Forces. What amazes me even more, is the men and women who are not born in the United States, yet they come to this country, volunteer for Military service, where they fight, sacrifice and die for this country, as if this was their homeland. Something that some American citizens by birth many times refuse to do. These young men and women are truly inspirational and should serve as an shining example for our children. Our wounded warriors, those who make the choice to return to the battlezone after they heal from their injuries are another source of great inspiration to me. In speaking with different wounded warriors over the years, I’ve heard time and time again, that they want nothing more than to return to Iraq, to be with their fellow Soldiers. I find it quite inspirational when learning about those who, after being injured and recovering from those injuries, face their personal demons and return back to the warzone to continue the fight. This young soldier is yet another inspirational example, of both. A young man who was born in another country and who chose to fight for this country and as a wounded warrior, chose to go back to the fight.

Unlike many of the Soldiers in his unit, Army SFC Adin Salkanovic won’t be spending 15 months in Iraq. But regardless of the amount of time he actually spends there, he’s only too aware of the sacrifices one sometimes make during wartime. SFC Salkanovic is the platoon Sgt with 1st Cav’s Troop B, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He volunteered to return to Iraq and rejoin his unit, after recovering from mutiple gunshot wounds that he received in Buhriz on March 6th.

On that day, Salkanovic was leading a dismounted 8 man reconnaissance team when they were attacked by 15-20 insurgents from 3 different directions. The insurgents were armed with grenades, sniper rifles and AK-47s. Salkanovic and his men were pinned down on a rooftop, returning fire. Within about 15 minutes, Salkanovic was struck by three bullets. Two others struck nearby and were stopped by his body armor, those two bullets would probably have killed him. The team fended off the enemy, eventually killing two of them. SFC Salkanovic credits one of his soldiers, Cpl. Cory Walter, for saving his life that day.

“Corporal Walter is pretty much responsible for me being alive right now,” he said.

The wounds that Salkanovic received were serious, causing him to lose approximately 2 litres of blood. He was flown to Landsthul Germany and later back to Fort Hood, Texas to recover from his injuries. After 2 months of recouperation, Salkanovic was more than ready to head back to Iraq and rejoin his unit. According to the 27 year old native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, returning to Iraq was totally his decision and one that he says was not up for debate. Returning to Iraq and rejoining his unit was his goal from the start. He did just that on May 15, rejoining his fellow Soldiers at FOB Normandy.

“As soon as my doctor cleared me to come back, I was on the first flight out,” he said. “It’s like a family - especially being a platoon sergeant. You get attached to the soldiers,” he said.

Lt. General Ray Odierno spent some time recently in Diyala province, where FOB Normandy is located. Here’s what he had to say about SFC Salkanovic.

We enjoy these freedoms because of generations of Americans have defended our way of life, many making the ultimate sacrifice we can never forget. The memories of our fallen and their families are never far from our thoughts, and their examples always fortify our will.

Our troops here in Iraq today exemplify what is best about America — courageous and honorable volunteers dedicated to preserving freedom and our way of life.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to patrol with one of our many heroes in the theater — Sergeant 1st Class Adin Salkanovic, a cavalry platoon sergeant. I think he’s pictured in front of you. Sergeant Sal, as he’s known by everyone, was wounded in early March of 2007 while leading a dismounted reconnaissance team when 15 to 20 insurgents wielding grenades, sniper rifles and AK-47s started attacking from three different directions. In a span of 15 minutes, Sergeant Sal was struck by three enemy bullets — one to his left index finger and shoulder, and one to his right shoulder and bicep. Two more enemy rounds nearly struck him but were stopped by his body armor. Sergeant Sal’s team fended off the attack and killed two insurgents. His wounds caused him to lose two liters of blood and be evacuated back to the United States. After two months of healing and rehabilitation, he was ready to head back to Iraq. And this is what he told me: “As soon as my doctor cleared me to come back, I was on the first flight out,” said Sergeant Sal. He’s a native of Bosnia- Herzegovina. Although returning to Iraq was entirely his choice, Sergeant Sal said the decision was not up for debate and rejoining his unit was his goal from the start. He said, “It’s like a family, especially being a platoon sergeant. You get attached to these soldiers,” he said.

Today Sergeant Sal is serving in Diyala province on a patrol base to defeat AQ. A hero among many, and a true testament to the incredible men and women of our armed forces, and a testament to one who wanted the freedom of being an American, one who started in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and one who truly cherishes his freedom as a United States citizen.

There are thousands of Sergeant Sals that have the fortitude and resilience to stare down uncertainty and endure our losses, and this is what makes our Army and Marine Corps so special, and makes me so proud to serve every day.

But that’s not all that makes SFC Salkanovic such an amazing soldier. I did some research into this young man and found some really interesting information about him. As a child, growing up in Bosnia, he grew up in a country that was torn by war and strife. At age 14, Salkanovic volunteered for the Bosnian army, fighting Serbian forces that had surrounded his hometown. At 14 he endured and saw many things that most 14 year olds in the United States will never see or endure in their entire lifetimes.

“I volunteered many times, but because of my age, they said ‘no,’” he said. “But I kept volunteering, I was one of those guys who wanted to see some action.”

After he continued to volunteer, the Bosnian Army finally gave in and Salkanovic became a soldier. Initially he worked with radios or carried ammunition. After a few months, he moved to the front lines, which at that time, were only about 1 1/2 miles from his home.

“It was World War I-style fighting, trench warfare,” he said. “There were a lot of mortar attacks, howitzers and tanks - a lot of armor got involved. Both sides took a lot of casualties from the minefields and snipers.”

Salkanovic’s career in the Bosnian Army came to a halt after about a year of fighting, when his father was wounded in battle. Since he was the middle of three children and the oldest son, it fell on him to provide for his family. For two years, he ran the household. In 1995, his family emograted to the United States, in order to obtain medical treatment for his sister, who suffered from a severe case of scoliosis.

“I kind of quit after was dad was injured,” he said. “I had to take care of my family. I had volunteered in the first place and they understood that I could walk out at any time because of my age.”

Salkanovic’s family settled in San Jose, California. Initially it was difficult because none of the children were able to speak English. After about three months, when he learned English, he said they all felt more comfortable. His sister had two surgeries. After they were completed, the family decided to return to Bosnia. Salkanovic said that he told his father he wouldn’t stay and returned to San Jose and worked construction jobs until he completed high school.

“As soon as I got my high school diploma, I joined the Army,” he said. “I thought I would enjoy it. As far as training and discipline and equipment… you can’t compare it,” he said of the difference between the US Army and the Bosnian Army. “The Bosnian army was a regular army, just lacking in uniformity. Every battalion had their own uniforms and standards.”

Salkanovic was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment in 2001. He has deployed twice to Kuwait, once before and once after 9/11. In 2004, he deployed to Camp Grey Wolf in the International Zone in Iraq. His history as a child soldier has followed him to his unit, but he doesn’t tell many stories about that experience.

“He doesn’t talk about it unless you ask,” said 1st Sgt Kirby Carter. “Guys who’ve seen bad stuff don’t talk about it. If they talk about it, they’ve usually had to embelish it.”

Carter described Salkanovic as an exceptional leader, very knowledgable. He displayed those leadership skills and knowledge shortly after they were deployed in 2004, when his unit fought through a 4 1/2 mile long ambush in Abu Ghraib.

“Anyone who fought in a war at 14 will be more mature than your average young sergeant,” Carter said. “We got a lot of young NCOs who came as specialists or young sergeants and grew into real good staff sergeants and will be the future of the NCO Corps.”

Salkanovic has said that he plans to make a career of the Army, saying he feels that it fits his capabilities and his personality.



American Thinker


5 Responses to “SFC Adin Salkanovic “The Decision Was Not Up For Debate…””

  1. University Update - Iraq - “The Decision Was Not Up For Debate…” on June 26th, 2007 5:45 am

    [...] Korea Link to Article iraq “The Decision Was Not Up For Debate…” » Posted at A Soldier’s [...]

  2. David M on June 26th, 2007 8:29 am

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/25/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  3. David M on June 26th, 2007 8:55 am

    Ignore the previous comment, Link Corrected

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/26/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  4. Cory Walter on January 29th, 2008 9:38 pm

    It’s true. He’s a tough SOB. Check out my blog, I wrote about what happened that day and posted it up under the title “The Long Craql Backwards”

  5. Cory Walter on January 29th, 2008 9:39 pm

    Heyyy, it didn’t post the link to my blog, here it is http://diyalawarstories.blogspot.com/
    In it, I wrote about what happened the day he got shot. Crazy day.

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