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Happy Iraq Amputees

Reported by Ellen - March 31, 2005

From the FOX News website, there's this happy news for wounded soldiers:

"It used to be that soldiers who lost arms or legs in battle would be headed home for good. But more and more seriously wounded soldiers are telling the U.S. Army that they want to get back to their posts. It's a phenomenon that's caught the attention of the military's top brass and even President Bush."

Yes, it's better battlefield living through modern medicine:

"Prosthetics are better. Technology is improved and that provides a better opportunity for the individual," said Col. William Howard, chief of occupational therapy at the hospital.

At Walter Reed, the primary facility for amputees, patients are fitted with arms that look surprisingly lifelike and mechanical legs that enable them to do nearly anything that real legs can.

Sgt. Brandon Wooldridge lost his leg when his Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. He is getting comfortable on his new leg and has already contacted his unit about returning.

"They said when I first get back, they will put me at an office job, and hopefully during that time I can go back and be part of the unit," Wooldridge told FOX News.

Despite such upbeat talk, the article goes on to say that heading back into action "may be a long shot," and that only eight have been approved so far, "Col. Robert Woods, who works in disabled soldier support, said he believes that number will go up. 'Soldiers and their families have to understand that continuing on active duty is a viable option for them and we're just now truly getting the word out to our soldiers in our hospitals around the world so they know this is an option,' he said."

Hmmm. Is this something that's really voluntary on the part of the soldiers or something they are forced to do because the military will no longer release them? It's hard to know from FOX News where Iraq is almost always happy except during the unfortunate times that a bomb goes off or an American is hurt. Typically, the article ends on this upbeat note:

"While only a handful of amputees have succeeded in returning to active duty, these veterans are beginning to prove that an injury that's life-threatening doesn't have to be career-threatening as well."

I'm sure the new recruits are greatly reassured.

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