Tim is a classic soldier. Understated and modest, but profoundly dedicated to the mission. He'd have to be that way, given all that he's been through. He was badly wounded on the battlefield in northern Iraq in 2005, during his second tour. His unit was ambushed by insurgents; in the midst of heavy fire, Tim's first instinct was to climb to a higher position to get a better shot at the approaching enemy. He told us the safety of his men was the only thing on his mind. As he scrambled to the roof of his disabled humvee, he selflessly exposed himself to incoming fire and was badly wounded. A bullet got in between his armored plates and went straight through his body. His men pulled him out of the kill zone and immediately tended to his wounds. Tim served as the senior medic for his unit, so he told us that he remembered shouting instructions to his soldiers about exactly what to do before finally passing out from the morphine.
It's an incredible story, but worse was to come. Back at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Md., Tim told us about how he had almost died during one of multiple surgeries, due to a bad reaction to anesthesia. His heart stopped for eight minutes. The cardiologist was literally on his way out of the building when he got the page. The doctor raced back to the operating room – and saved Tim's life. Tim lost a lot of his memory in process, and was being told at the same time he may never walk again.
Fast forward many months, through a long and painful rehabilitation. It's an amazing testament to Tim – and to all those who helped him along the way – that he would go on to re-qualify for duty as a Green Beret and serve a third tour in 2007 in Iraq.
I think it's impossible for any one story to convey the sacrifice and dedication of those fighting the war in Iraq, but Tim's story seemed to come pretty close. More than 30,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in Iraq and more than 4,100 have been killed since March 2003. It seems fair to say, throwing all politics aside, that no one would disagree that Tim's sacrifice – and the sacrifice of thousands of other Americans – needs to honored as the next President finds a way out of the war in Iraq.