Army Sgt (Ret.) Richard “Tony” Doyle, Iraq Veteran & Wounded Warrior

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On Aug. 9, 2005, Army Sergeant Richard “Tony” Doyle was serving as an Infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 130thInfantry, in Baghdad, Iraq. That morning Doyle rode in patrol in the lead vehicle. A soldier in his Humvee spotted a suspicious object beside the road and yelled, “Look out! Look out!”

An explosion followed. The Humvee flipped. The door latch broke in the rollover. Doyle lost consciousness and was ejected. The Humvee landed on his left leg, pinning him to the ground. He awoke a short time later to excruciating pain.

“I would say the adrenaline was pumping at the max,” he said. “The first thing I did was look for my weapon.”

He noticed fellow soldiers setting up a 360-degree perimeter with Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The show of force calmed him a bit.

 “I saw the doc heading for me so I pulled out a smoke, put it in my mouth and prepared to light it,” he said. “When the doc got to me, he slapped it out and proceeded to tell me I could not have it because he was going to give me morphine.

 “He got to work digging a space under my leg and the Humvee to put a tourniquet on to stop the bleeding. As he was doing that, some other guys were digging near my leg to help relieve some of the pressure. At one point, they stopped digging.

 One soldier asked, “Why did you stop?”. The reply: “We can’t tell what’s his leg and what’s the ground.

 The IED had detonated between the vehicles. Only one soldier was injured: Doyle. The single blast was all the enemy delivered that morning. “I never looked at my leg,” he said, “because I knew if I did it would throw me into shock, which kills just as easy as a bomb.”

Forty-five minutes after the explosion, a medevac helicopter arrived to carry Doyle to a hospital in Balad, almost 50 miles away. “I do not know why,” he said, “but as I was being loaded onto the medevac, I gave a thumbs up, as if I had been injured on a football field.”

He awoke in a recovery tent. The only other person in sight was a nurse on desk duty. “I looked around and realized my left leg was gone,” he said. “I am not sure how to explain that feeling except for very lonely. It was the most horrible feeling I have ever had. I got the nurse’s attention and tried to figure out what was going on. Was I dreaming or not? I wasn’t. It was all true.”

By the time he called his girlfriend to tell her the news, she already knew. An officer had explained the amputation simply: “The leg was mangled, like a crushed piece of paper.”

Sgt. Doyle came home sooner than expected. He and Melissa married in 2006 and blended two families. He has two children from a previous marriage; she has one. Together, they have an infant.

Now medically retired, Tony and his family remain active within his community. He is currently the 1st Vice President of his local Lions Club and will soon assume duties as the club’s president. He is also a 4-H Archery instructor at Living Rock Academy, one of the local schools in the area.

Now a 37 year old veteran, Tony continues to further his education by working towards a master’s degree in history.  He hopes to garner a Ph.D. and later become a college professor.

 

 

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