Monday, October 23, 2006
The Men and Their Stories - Wounded Part 3
LCpl. Peter Dmitruk, an 0311 with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, arrived at the Wounded Warrior barracks in September, 2005. Having graduated from boot camp less than one year earlier, he returned to Camp Lejeune with a career's worth of experience. Deployed to the Syrian border in the summer of 2005, LCpl. Dmitruk became accustomed to the daily grind of snap vehicle check points, presence patrols and security patrols around town. Having just returned from patrol to his company's battle position, he was reaching into his pack which he'd tossed atop the hescoe barrier that provided cover for him and his fellow Marines. "A mortar had fallen pretty close...I didn't hear the mortar, but I felt it. It felt like I kinda got punched. My arm flew up into my body. I looked down and it was mangled...kinda looked like it had gotten caught in a shredder. I could see the blood, which looked like arterial bleeding." A company corpsman laid him down and injected LCpl. Dmitruk with morphine. "I remember laying down on the stretcher, apologizing to everyone for getting hurt. I didn't want to leave." A medevac helicopter landed shortly thereafter and took him to the forward resuscitative surgical suite (FRSS) at FOB (forward operating base) Al Qaim. "I remember asking the Batalion Commander if I could stay...one of the medical officers (was) there; I could see he shook his head, so I knew I was going home. He said 'this is your time to heal, you've done what you can'." His injuries resulted in the introduction of a titanium plate into his arm, a necessity after losing nearly five inches of bone. Skin was grafted from his leg to cover the wounds and hasten the healing process. Following numerous surgeries, LCpl Dmitruk moved into the Wounded Warrior barracks in January, 2006 and has since realized the significance of living there, vice convalescing at home or in his unit's barracks. "I realized that when I'm here (in the wounded warrior barracks), healing is the number one priority...you'll always find a way to get to your appointments. That's the reason you're here, to heal and to get better."