19 April 2007

Follow Up: SPC Sam Floberg & Lcpl Ben Lunak

Sam, Larry "The Cable Guy", and Shelle from Soldiers' Angels

Larry signing Sam's leg

Shelle emailed in November of last year with a request to check on National Guardsman SPC Samuel Floberg. Sam arrived in Germany from Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, where he had been wounded in an RPG attack which took the life of fellow North Dakota Army National Guardsman Cpl. Nathan Goodiron.

Soldiers from 188th ADA SECFOR were participating in a combat patrol mission escorting military convoys when they were ambushed. Four RPGs were fired at their vehicle killing Goodiron, the driver, and severing Floberg's right leg as he stood in the gun turret.

By late February of this year, Sam had hit the slopes for the second time as part of a program sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project of Jacksonville, Fla., and Disabled Sports USA of Rockville, Md.

Sam volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan and says he has no regrets. "Stuff happens, and you just have to step up to the plate and deal with it," he said. "Instead of just saying, 'Aw, I'm disabled' and just sit on the sidelines, you can actually get out and play again."

Sam and Ben show some leg

In February of 2006 Lcpl Lunak of India Co, 3rd Bn, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division was wounded near Ramadi, transitioned through Landstuhl hospital, and woke up 12 days later at Bethesda Navy Medical Center. He suffered internal injuries and severe damage to his right leg in the IED attack that took the life of two of his closest friends.

His family had waited for him to regain consciousness to make the decision about amputating his leg. But upon awakening "I asked them why my leg was still there. I knew it was useless," Ben said. "I don't regret my decision. I would still be in recovery with a bum leg."

By July he had walked his sister down the aisle at her wedding, and he now snowboards, skis, runs, drives, and has a new job.

People have asked him if it was worth it. Some tell him it's too bad he lost his leg for no reason.

"I get kind of mad about that. I guess if their freedom isn't a reason... " he said. "I didn't lose my leg. I gave my leg for my country."

There are no words to describe what it's like for us here to look at photos like this after seeing these guys only days after their injuries. You don't really talk about it much. Either you "know", or you don't.

And either way, there's nothing to say.

Previous: Welcome Home Lcpl Ben Lunak!
External sources: Pittsburgh Tribute-Review and GrandForksHerald.com

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