Army Ranger Josh Hargis: A reminder that there is still an American character

For those of us who feel that Obama has fundamentally transformed America by fundamentally transforming Americans — turning them into a race of whiners and weenies — it’s nice to have a reminder that there are still people of tremendous value out there, people like Army Ranger Josh Hargis, 24, who received a Purple Heart while lying in the ICU after losing both legs to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan while on his 4th tour of duty.  Everyone who crowded into the ICU for the simple ceremony thought that Hargis was unconscious.  He wasn’t.  Despite tubes and wounds and pain and doctors trying to keep him from hurting himself, Hargis saluted his commanding officer.  This is the photograph and, below it, the letter that the CO sent to Hargis’s wife, Taylor, both of which she posted on Facebook.

Josh Hargis salutes his commanding officer

Josh was seriously wounded as you know and survived for almost two hours after his injury before arriving to the hospital.

Josh was immediately pushed through a series of surgeries and emerged hours later into an intensive care unit here at our base in Afghanistan.

Despite being in intense pain and mental duress, Josh remained alert and compassionate to the limited Rangers that were allowed to visit him bedside.

Prior to Josh being moved to Germany for his eventual flight to America, we conducted a ceremony to award him with the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

A simple ceremony, you can picture a room full of Rangers, leaders, doctors, and nurses surrounding his bedside while the Ranger Regimental Commander pinned the Purple Heart to his blanket.

During the presentation the Commander publishes the official orders verbally and leaned over Josh to thank him for his sacrifice.

Josh, whom everybody in the room (over 50 people) assumed to be unconscious, began to move his right arm under the blanket in a diligent effort to salute the Commander as is customary during these ceremonies.

Despite his wounds, wrappings, tubes, and pain, Josh fought the doctor who was trying to restrain his right arm and rendered the most beautiful salute any person in that room had ever see.

I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive care unit that day. Grown men began to weep and we were speechless at a gesture that speak volumes about Josh’s courage and character.

The picture, which we believe belongs on every news channel and every news paper is attached. I have it hanging above my desk now and will remember it as the single greatest event I have witnessed in my ten years in the Army.

Needless to say, I wish Josh a speedy recovery. I have no doubt that he will cope with his disability with style, grace, and courage.

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  • Earl

    This story is SO great!!  It makes me proud of our country, that we can still produce men like Josh Hargis, and I feel a little safer knowing that his mates are out there on the lines, protecting us.
    A wonderful friend from childhood sent us photos of his son after his first successful parachute jump – he’s completed three, at last notice.  He intends to be a Ranger!  I shared the e-mail and photo with my family, who knew the Dad when we were kids, and received the following back from my cousin – you need to know that my family does not have a military tradition – despite my Dad’s service during WWII (he was in med school, and the entire class enlisted – the alternative was to be immediately drafted and sent to basic training to carry a rifle on the front lines).  Anyhow:
    “I know it’s a matter of pride and personal accomplishment, but it makes my heart squeeze to see a soldier, in place of a young individual man.  Necessary, but difficult.”
    I wanted to SHAKE her!!  Since it was e-mail, that wasn’t an option, which is probably fortunate, in terms of family dynamics going forward.  So, I wrote the following:
    “Everyone gets to see it as they will. 
    “I’ve encouraged his Dad and supported his desire to be proud of him (as well as afraid for him) — Matt is a sheepdog, doing the training needed to make him ready to protect the flock (that’s you and me) from the wolves.  Our very lives, as well as our freedom, depend on young men like Matt, who love their brothers and sisters, parents, etc. so much that they are willing to put their lives on the line….just the way Jesus describes it in the gospels.  (For those who don’t know the text:  “Greater love hath no man than this…that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13, KJV)
    “Think about it a bit — it’s FAR more than “pride and personal accomplishment”.  And believe me, soldiers are very much individuals…as well as members of a highly trained team.  Individuals on a battle field are picked off rather easily by a disciplined force on the other side.  The teamwork part is ESSENTIAL.  But, we Americans showed the most powerful nation in the world that a fighting force that didn’t enlist individuals who could make intelligent decisions when it was needed was going to lose.
    “Matt won’t lose his individuality in the Army, believe me.  He’s aiming to be part of one of the most elite teams on earth….and I thank God regularly that he and his teammates are willing to set aside the hedonism and “me-orientation” that pervades much of our society these days, trading it in for one of the most important jobs in our country, even if many don’t honor them for it.  It’s not as bad as it was — but the number of our politicians who have not served in the military is shockingly high….and I don’t think it’s any accident that we are as screwed up as we are in D.C.
    “OK…off my soap-box now!”
    I honor Army Ranger John Hargis, along with his family….as well as every other young man who puts his life on the line to serve and protect.
    God bless ’em, Every One!!

  • Jose

    We’ve paid such a high price in Iraq and Afghanistan for ….. what?