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Wounded Warriors Making a Proper Exit From War

Eleven wounded warriors returned to Iraq through Operation Proper Exit

Wounded Warriors return to war for a proper farewell.

Here’s what happens when a soldier is injured in battle: his friends give suppressive fire while a medic runs over and gives battlefield care, pressure dressing, tourniquet, etc; then the soldier is brought to a combat support hospital (either through vehicle or helicopter); the soldier is rushed through the E.R. and then straight into the O.R. (unless there’s a mass casualty situation, in that case, the soldier is tucked away while waiting his turn to be operated on); then once the soldier is stabilized, he is sent by helicopter to a military hospital in Germany; afterwards, once he is further stabilized, he is sent to a hospital in the United States.

Needless to say, it’s a harrowing process. A soldier faces weeks, sometimes months, of rehabilitation and physical therapy and he never gets to finish his deployment with his friends, his brothers. Operation Proper Exit is a program designed to give soldiers a proper battlefield farewell. Through OPE, soldiers return to Iraq and Afghanistan, meet with their fellow deployed soldiers, and then are allowed to make a proper exit from the theater of war.

Sometimes you just need a little bit of closure.

From the Troops First Foundation:

For those Wounded Warriors who are thriving in recovery and are capable of returning to theater, this program itinerary stages a meet-and-greet tour to forward operating bases with a group of recovered soldiers. Four specific objectives have been identified:

  1. The sense of brotherhood inherent in today’s military leaves a number of injured soldiers with the desire to return to theater after injury. By having a chance to visit, not only is their desire addressed but they can bring stories from home to deployed troops when they arrive.

  2. Soldiers who have witnessed the injuring of a battle buddy are often times left wondering how the situation turned out both short and long term. Upon the return of fully recovered soldiers, the minds of deployed troops are put to ease when they witness the results firsthand and hear about the journey and outstanding care being afforded to our Wounded Warriors.

  3. The Wounded Warriors will have a most important as well as unique opportunity to see the progress in Iraq that they, through their tremendous sacrifice, helped bring about.

  4. For troops that have been injured in battle, this initiative provides them the opportunity to make a “proper exit” on their own terms as they walk to the aircraft and climb the ramp rather than being medically evacuated. This component has a positively resounding effect in offering closure to that chapter of their lives.

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Photo: DVIDSHUB/Wikipedia