Like so many of his fellow soldiers, he worked to overcome his life-threatening injuries and learned to live with his disabilities.
The survival skills Bob Dole learned during those dark days helped shape the man and political leader he would eventually become.
The former senator recounts his personal story in the new book "One Soldier's Story."
He tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm he wonders what he would have done with his life if he hadn't been injured.
"I think there is strength to adversity," he says. "I think people are stronger. You're more determined in nearly every case. You set goals that you can reach. Not impossible goals, and I decided, if I couldn't use my hands, I'd use my head."
The book, he says, is really for people who feel that maybe their life can't go on because of circumstances beyond their control.
"It's totally no politics in it," he says. "It's about the will to recover and recovering, and it's also about people who think, Well, at age 50, I can't do anything anymore."
And notes he hopes it might be an example that you can still work in your 60s, 70s and 80s.
The former senator recently suffered a health setback. This winter, he spent more than a month in the hospital.