My name is SGT Shaun Slone. I was from 1-41 Infantry Battalion out of Fort Riley, Kansas. I deployed in June 2004 to Iraq. I served as the squad Leader of Charlie Company. My daily duties included training my soldiers, leading them on missions, and bringing my soldiers home alive. It was a very strenuous job to have, my guys safety was in my hands and the least mistake could have gotten someone hurt or killed. I did this and more every day that I was in Iraq.
My wife was back home living with my parents and two small children and she was pregnant with our third child. I was able to come home for R&R in October 2004 for a few days then had to return to Iraq. Our baby was born on January 19, 2005 and I missed her birth. I was due to come home in June 2005.
On February 10, 2005 my squad and I were out on a mission. We had been out for about 12 hours in our Bradley. I got tired and decided to try to take a cat nap. Then the unthinkable happened. An RPG hit our Bradley, it pierced the track and blew up in my face. It happened so fast, for a second I thought to myself “were any of my guys hurt” and noticed that everyone was ok except myself. I felt like my face was on fire. I looked down and saw blood all over me and checked all over and saw that my arm was wounded.
The medic immediately bandaged me up until they got me to the med tent. I could not cry. I could not think. All I knew was that I had to be strong for my soldiers. I later found out that I endured first and second degree burns on my face hands and left leg. The blast caused stigmatism in my left eye and some hearing loss in both ears. I took shrapnel the size of a nickel to my left forearm, shattering about 2 1/2 inches of my ulna bone leaving a huge metal plate in my arm and a huge gaping hole.
I was then flown to Germany for further care and then to Texas (BAMC) to the burn unit where I stayed for two weeks receiving treatment for my burns. Then I was released to go back to my duty station at Fort Riley where I received further care, including a bone graph, taking bone from my left hip to put into my left arm. My doctor opted to medically board me out of the Army because I could no longer perform any of my duties as an infantryman. I was taken off regular duty and became a CQ NCOIC which became a battle because I had so many appointments to attend on a daily basis and I was on so many medications.
Shortly after my injury in Iraq I was diagnosed with PTSD, Severe Anxiety, Insomnia and Chrone’s Disease which required exploratory stomach surgery to get a polyp removed from my small intestine. I am terrified to go outside and be around groups of people, I am always on alert, I have severe night mares which makes it extremely hard for me to rest peacefully. I sleep on the couch every night alone because I’m scared I will act out my nightmares and unintentionally hurt my wife or kids. I am still receiving physical, mental and occupational therapy at the hospital. I worry everyday how my family is going to make it financially.
Since my injury, my life has changed so much. I wish the nightmares will go away. I wish that I could be off all my medications. I wish I could live a normal life. I try and try to make head and tales of it all but I would do it all over again if I could because it is what I was and what I love ... AMERICA... Thanks so much.
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