By: J.D. Simkins
September 24, 2018
Brian and Ashley often make trips to Walter Reed to visit other wounded veterans to provide hope and inspiration. In 2014, Brian was presented the George C. Lang Award for Courage for his many efforts to take care of and mentor wounded vets.
Ashley Kolfage met her husband-to-be, Brian, when she was working as a hostess at a Chili’s in the small west Texas city of San Angelo.
Ashley and Brian Kolfage practice surfing. The couple married in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Kolfage)
The two quickly became friends, but before any romance could take hold, Brian deployed to Iraq, where, on Sept. 11, 2004, he became the most severely wounded airman to survive any war in U.S. history after a 107mm enemy rocket landed just three feet away as he walked to get a drink of water.
Both of Brian’s legs were instantly shredded, he lost his dominant right hand and his lung collapsed.
Miraculously conscious after the explosion, the senior airman screamed for help. A close friend tried to keep him calm as medics rushed to help. All the while, Kolfage repeated that he just wanted to make it home to see his family.
Medics would go on to perform hours of life-saving surgery before placing Kolfage on a flight to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, where he arrived only 36 hours after being wounded, the fastest medevac to the U.S. from a war zone in history.
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