At today’s “Blogger’s Roundtable” (the Pentagon’s effort to bring bloggers into the fold with the latest on military issues), I had the high honor of speaking directly with a real American Hero… and now, I am shaking in my proverbial Nikes.
Want to know what a real American Hero is?
It’s Maj. David Rozelle, the Administrator for the Amputee Care Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Maj. Rozelle was leading a convoy in Hit, Iraq, west of Baghdad on 21 June 2003 when a landmine claimed his right foot. By June of 2004, just one year later, Rozelle became the first amputee in history to redeploy to the battlefield in Iraq to command troops again.
Maj. Rozelle is also the Team Captain of the “Missing Parts in Action” (Yes, he certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humor) running team for the Army Ten Miler here in Washington on Sunday. Rozelle started the team four years ago with 6 guys who wanted to overcome incredible odds – this year there are 30 team members. And I am going to attempt to keep up with them.
When I asked Rozelle what the significance of the race was for him, here’s what he told me:
“It’s a message to the enemy: I’M STILL STRONGER THAN YOU. I’M NOT BEAT.”
Want to know Rozelle’s favorite statistic?
“O – that’s the number of amputees who have committed suicide since 9/12/01.”
If “Inspiration” had a picture next to its definition in the dictionary, you’d see the one I’ve posted above.
If you want to know more about Maj. Rozelle’s amazing story, check out his book “Back in Action.”
And by the way, when I asked Rozelle how fast he plans to run the Ten Miler (in hopes of hearing some encouragement for my two-footed effort), he simply said:
“You better bring your running shoes, pal!”