Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Men and Their Stories - Wounded Part 4 (Final)

Although the majority of the Camp Lejeune wounded warriors claim the title "Marine," a few of the residents prefer the nickname "Doc." Hospitalman first class (HM1) Glenn Minney is one of the few sailors who've come to call the wounded warrior barracks their home. A Navy reservist, Minney enlisted in 1985. "Doc" Minney was activated and deployed to Iraq in January, 2005. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, he was wounded by mortar shrapnel while standing atop the Haditha Dam, a 10 story high facility that serves as a Forward Operating Base for Marines and Corpsman stationed near the Euphrates River Valley. "It was a typical, hot day in Iraq. I had to go out to one of the CONEX boxes to get supplies for the Battalion Aid Station...and the dam came under mortar attack. I was out on the 10th deck on a catwalk and a mortar round went off about 30 feet in front of me." HM1 Minney remembered running back inside the dam, the unit going to General Quarters as four additional rounds exploded near the dam. At the time, he did not know he was injured. "My vision was a little blurry and I had a severe headache, but I didn't think much of it," Minney stated. The next day, however, his eyes started bothring him, and he began receiving treatments for pink-eye. Unknown to the "Doc", however, both retinas in his eyes had become detached from the concussion of the blast. Blood vessels had ruptured, allowing the vitrouse fluids to leak from his eyes. "I started developing tunnel vision, and it was slowly closing in, becoming pinpoint. I talked to my Battalion Surgeon, and sat him down in private and told him 'I am going blind'." Medevac'd to Al Asad, then to Balad, an opthamologist recommended immediate evacuation to Hamburg, Germany for surgery. His first surgery lasted 3 hours, and he received two more operations before heading home to the United States. On September 2, 2005, while convalescing at home, his vision again went black and he required additional emergency surgery. Still on active duty orders, he was offered the opportunity to move into the wounded warrior barracks in the fall of 2005. "At times, you can't talk to your spouse, your mother, your father, friends, about things they've never been exposed to. Being around people who've been there, and having the medical facility...that's the benefit to having the wounded warrior program. Care is first priorty, whether it be mental, physical or social - we go out of our way to hit all those avenues."

3 comments:

Samantha West said...

Craig,
Did this man lose his vision completely?
Sam

VMICraig said...

Fortunately he still has some of his sight, although it is limited. He will be discharged from the Navy under a medical retirement, but has already accepted a patient advocate position with the VA. What better person to be a patient advocate than someone who has experienced the same thing, right? I interviewed over a dozen of these men, each of them telling me their individual tales of heroism and recovery. Great guys, all of them.

AnonymousOpinion said...

Happy Birthday USMC!

Glad it has men like you and men like these in it!