Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Marine's experience can inspire Boston runners

The Unknown Soldiers: Marine's experience can inspire Boston runners
Jackson Sun News
Written by Tome Sileo
Apr 19, 2013

After Cpl. Jake Hill stepped on an improvised explosive device during a chaotic battle in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, the young Marine radioed his squad leader.

“This is Hill,” he said. “I just stepped on an IED, but I’m fine.”

U.S. Marine Cpl. Jake Hill's left leg was amputated just above the knee after he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Sept. 16, 2010. He has since run the Marine Corps Marathon and been awarded the Silver Star for bravery in combat. Image courtesy of the website Ossur.
Through a dizzying haze of dust, smoke and ongoing gunfire, the Rapid City, S.D., native looked down at his feet.

“What I saw was a really badly broken left ankle,” Cpl. Hill told The Unknown Soldiers. “I was like ‘OK, this is fine, people break their ankles all the time.’”

Hill was later shocked when a doctor presented him with two difficult choices: replace his shattered foot with a cadaver bone or amputate his left leg just above the knee.
As soon as members of his patrol were hit, Hill, who was serving with Company L of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, took it upon himself to tend to the wounded.

“With one of his team members injured by a rocket-propelled grenade, (Hill) exposed himself to enemy fire a second time and ran to aid his Marine brother,” a Marine Corps citation said. “He applied first-aid and led the rest of his team through 200 meters of fire-swept terrain to extract the casualty.”

Like so many combat veterans I’ve spoken with, Hill skipped over his gallantry during our interview. He is too humble to take credit for his courageous, life-saving actions.

“Three or four days after my injury, my platoon commander told me that he was going to be putting me up for an award,” Hill, now 22, said. “I said ‘no, I don’t want it.’”
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