Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Gansner was lucky: The IED that exploded beneath his vehicle in Iraq one hot night in July 2006 didn't kill him. It did, however, shatter his heels and ankles and shred his legs, and the concussion bruised his brain, dimming his cognitive and emotional abilities. Jagged shrapnel also peppered his body, leaving him bleeding heavily. Forty of his fellow 101st Airborne troopers lined up to donate blood, and medics and surgeons patched the holes and saved his leg. Medevac planes sped him homeward for advanced surgery.
But as his wife Cheryl, then 24, raced from Kentucky to meet her wounded husband at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., neither she nor he knew that as painful and terrifying as the past few hours had been, the very worst lay ahead.
To continue reading the rest of their heart-wrenching story, click here.
For parts I, II, III, and IV of our 'Beyond the Battlefield' series, click here.
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