A Soldier's Amazing Road to Recovery

General David Petreaus and Lt. Brian Brennan
General David Petreaus and Lt. Brian Brennan
The miraculous recovery of Lt. Brian Brennan took another incredible step forward this week -- a morning run with General David Petraeus, commander of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

"For me being a lowly old lieutenant having a four star general conversing with me and PT-ing with me is just an unbelievable thing," Brennan said. "I never thought that I would ever be able to do that, ever."

It's not just that Brennan lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. He was in a totally unresponsive coma until one day a year and a half ago when Petraeus visited himin the hospital.

"There was absolutely no response whatsoever," Petraeus said.

In desperation, Petraeus shouted out the motto for Brennan's unit -"Currahee," a Cherokee Indian word that means 'stand alone.'

"All of a sudden the lieutenant, his stumps are banging up and down on the sheets, his head is moving around and very clearly responding to his unit's nickname," Petraeus said.

A Soldier's Miraculous Comeback
Remarkable Recovery

Now that same lieutenant is talking running times with the famously fit Petraeus.

"How far are you up to now?" Petreaus asked.

"The longest I've ever ran is like a mile and a half two miles," Brennan replied. "It was a substandard pace to me sir. I'm not going to be happy until what I was before."

Petraeus even joked about the fact that Brennan doesn't have to worry about stretching out his calf muscles. But there's no minimizing the severity of the injuries he is living with. There were no land speed records set on that morning but if there were a world championship in comebacks, Brian Brennan would be the hands down winner.

"I wasn't sure I'd ever see the day that he could actually talk," Petreaus said. "So this is actually an extraordinary journey that he's been on."

And it's not over. Would you believe it if we told you Brennan is still on active duty? His goal is to become an instructor at one of the army's basic training schools where he'd be leading recruits on their morning run.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.