Despite Injuries, Soldier Chose To Remain In Iraq
November 21, 2007
Many people who aren’t in the military or familiar with it, often wonder why some of our Troops stay in the warzone, even when they have they opportunity to return home early. They don’t understand the special bond, the comrarderie that develops between the Troops, when your in a place where your life is constantly on the line. Many people don’t understand why thousands of our Troops, stand up and reenlist in the military, in the warzone.
One Soldier recently had the opportunity to return to the United States, to recuperate from injuries sustained during a rocket attack, that left 2 other US Soldiers dead. Despite being injured severely enough to require two surgeries, Sgt. Cindy Flores made the choice to remain in Iraq with her unti to recuperate, instead of returning to the United States.
Flores, from Company D, 4th “Guns” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, received wounds from shrapnel in the incoming rocket attack. She had been taking a break from her duties as an aircraft armament and electrical systems repair specialist, when she heard the words “Incoming! Incoming!” being shouted.
Her training took over, as she quickly moved inside a bunker, before she even realized that she’d been hit. Her injuries required her to be airlifted to Balad for the first of two surgeries. A fellow Soldier, Staff Sgt. Sean Harris, recalls how calm Sgt. Flores was, as he administed frist aid to her, after the attack.
“She pretty much just turned to me calmly and said, ‘I think I have a hole in my leg,’” Harris said.
According to Flores, making the decision to stay in Iraq during her recuperation, instead of coming back to the United States, was the best decision she could have made.
“It was the people I work with,” Flores said. “Before I even left here, they gave me so much support - I knew with their help I could pull through. They gave me the strength that I needed.”
With a projected recovery time of about 6 weeks, she returned to Camp Taji to begin her rehabilitation in earnest. Initially she could barely walk. Her recuperation has progressed to the point that on October 30th, she was able to walk across the outdoor stage, to receive her Purple Heart from 1st Cav Air Brigade commander Col. Daniel Shanahan. As he presented her with her Purple Heart, Shanahan stressed to everyone in attendance, how her life will be forever changed.
“She carries the scars today… and part of that weapon is inside her and will be with her for the rest of her life,” Shanahan said. He then went on to describe the magnitude of the meaning of the award, and the sacrifices of the awardees. “Those great Soldiers gave a piece of themselves for this great nation of ours,” Shanahan said.