Retired Staff Sgt. Bradley K. Gruetzner explains his prosthetic arm to servicemembers at Al Faw Palace, Camp Victory, Iraq, June 21. Greutzner, along with five other soldiers, have returned to Iraq to visit forward operating bases to witness the changes that have taken since their injuries. They are part of a pilot program, “Operation Proper Exit.” Greutzner was injured May 26, 2007, by an improvised explosive device while traveling in a convoy 15 miles north of Baghdad. (photo credit: U.S. Army)
He was a medic, serving with the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He joined the National Guard soon after graduating from high school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. On May 18, 2011, nine days before he was scheduled to return home, the blast of an IED mangled both of his legs and one arm. After a score of surgeries and 20 months in a rehabilitation facility, he and his bride got a “fresh start” in Bloomington, Indiana—the gift of a handsome house by a grateful nation, located in a pleasant neighborhood just three blocks from my home.
But it proved impossible to start over. The impact of the war on the Afghan children he had treated for burns troubled him. He became increasingly angry. His marriage failed. The pain from his wounds persisted.
He killed himself on April 22, 2014. (Herald-Times, Bloomington, IN, May 5, 2014).
Beyond a close circle of family and friends, Jacob Hutchinson is now another abstract casualty of war—a statistic. (more…)