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by Rachel Alexander | March 30th, 2008
The moving story of one of one of America's true heroes, a veteran who was struck by an IED while serving in Iraq. Featured on the Montel Williams Show with me this Tuesday.
I recently had the opportunity to meet one of our U.S. military's bravest heroes, Staff Sergeant Jerry Majetich, on the Montel Williams Show. Jerry served in Iraq until he was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), critically injuring him and causing 3rd degree burns over 100% of his face, neck and scalp along with numerous other serious injuries. Yet Jerry refuses to blame President Bush for what happened, and places the blame squarely upon whom it belongs – the Islamo-fascist terrorists and insurgents who attacked him. Here is his story, told mostly by him with only a few edits by me.
Jerry was deployed to Iraq in March of 2005 with the 304th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Company, stationed south of Baghdad in support of the 184th (AA), 3rd ID. On October 18th, 2005, while traveling as the 27th vehicle in a 69-vehicle convoy as part of Operation Clean sweep, he was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). His vehicle had a bounty on it. The rear half of the vehicle disintegrated immediately, killing a member of the security detachment, who was a friend and room mate of Jerry's, and the Battalion Information Officer, also a good friend. The driver's door blew off and he was ejected from the vehicle, receiving minor burns to his right arm and leg. The gunner was thrown about 50 feet into a nearby field from the explosion, shattering his right leg and suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his arm, leg, and lower back.
The propane tank in the IED set the vehicle on fire, and Jerry was trapped inside, unable to escape because the door next to him had been welded closed. A Navy Dog Handler, a Air Force UAV pilot, and the Captain leading the convoy somehow pulled him out. While his injuries were being treated, the battle fire continued for nearly 50 minutes. Because the flames on the vehicle were so hot, one of the M16 rounds inside of the vehicle "cooked off," flying out to hit Jerry in the upper rear of his right leg. When it was finally safe for a medical helicopter to land, Jerry was shot by an AK47 in the right upper portion of his right leg as he was being transported by stretcher to it. He remained in Baghdad for a day because his condition was so serious medics could not keep him stabilized. He was flown to Landsthul Germany, where he stayed for two days.
Jerry was finally taken to Brook Army Medical Center (BAMC), Fort Sam Houston, Texas on November 2nd. While at BAMC, he underwent 44 surgeries. Close to a dozen more surgeries must still be performed.
His injuries include:
-35% total body surface 3rd degree burns.
-100% face, neck and scalp 3rd degree burns, causing the loss of all hair, both ears (his hearing is fortunately ok), most of his nose, and his vision was gone for two months, with the inability to close either eye for almost three months.
-His intestines were ruptured and stomach bruised, causing the loss of 1/3 of his small intestines. Because of the multiple surgeries to his stomach, his muscles were unable to heal and he now has what is referred to as "swiss cheese" by his doctor: a total of six hernias (five in his stomach and one on his right side), which required another surgery. If not taken care of, their size would have increased, interfering with other organs.
-Total amputation of his right thumb and pinky, and remaining three fingers down to the second knuckle.
-Finger tip amputations to all of the fingers on his left hand.
-Loss of use to right arm and shoulder beyond ten pounds.
-Unable to straighten either arm due to bone growth caused body in reaction to the burns.
-Unable to stay in sun light for more than a few minutes, and his body does not react well to either extreme cold or heat.
-Two gunshot wounds in his upper, rear right leg with a loss of muscle and tendons.
-Frequent loss of memory, both short and long term, due to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
-Frequent bouts with anxiety in and out of crowds, depression and fatigue.
Jerry retired from the U.S. Army on June 29th, 2007. His wonderful wife has been a great support to him. As can be seen in the pictures accompanying this article, Jerry still has a long way to go to return to a semi-normal life. The cost of the surgeries has been staggering, and even veterans' healthcare doesn't pay for everything. Because of the severity of his injuries, the expense of healing all of them is going to require expensive surgeries beyond what government can provide. Bringing this valiant young man back to where he was before he served our country should be a high priority of patriotic Americans. There are very few worthier causes we should contribute our own money to.
I encourage everyone to watch his moving story on the Montel Williams show on Tuesday, April 1, 2008; after that it will be available on my website at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/rachel-alexander-archives. Whether you agree with U.S. involvement in Iraq or not, this young man does not deserve to be cruelly punished simply for serving his country in a war that he had no choice over. I thank everyone who gave a donation to Jerry through this website for his restorative surgeries. As a valiant American, he deserves no less than the best from us. There is no cause worthier to me personally than this.