Even though he'd been in the Army for ten years, Joe Beimfohr never knew war until he was sent to Iraq. A sergeant in a Calvary platoon, he led reconnaissance and security missions, always wary of the perils, such as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
Then, a year ago Wednesday, his life changed forever.
But, reports Thalia Assuras, despite horrible wounds he suffered that day, Beimfohr is battling still, refusing to let his injuries keep him from realizing his dreams.
"We were looking at IEDs almost every day," Beimfohr told Assuras, "going up and down roads, stopping, pulling over, looking at things. A lot of danger."
Returning to base from a reconnaissance mission in Baqubah, his lieutenant spotted a copper wire running across the road. They knew immediately that it was an IED.
"We started to disable the device," Beimfohr says. "I didn't really know what I was getting into."
"We noticed that there were other wires branching off the main wire that we had found. … They had buried one in the path of the wire going back towards them, and the soldier in front of me, Specialist Dickinson, he was basically on it when it went off."
Dickinson died instantly but, for a moment, Beimfohr was still standing.
"I remember looking down," he says, "following the wire to make sure we weren't losing it, and the next thing I know, I was being hit by dirt and debris, and I never really heard the explosion. It was more of a pop.
"I do remember being hit by debris and shrapnel and … for a second, I was just stunned. I didn't fall down to my feet. I was still standing after it went off. And then I looked down and saw blood pouring out of my vest."
It was the last time Beimfohr would ever stand on his own legs.
"I am being held down by my guys," he recalled, "'cause I feel pain in my legs, I feel pain in my hand. … I am screaming in pain, and they are trying to hold me down and treat me. … I knew from the blood pouring out of my abdomen that I had a pretty big wound there, but I didn't know about the damage to my legs."
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