Military Medical Team Makes the 'Toughest Call'

Extreme blood loss had caused his heart to stop. Unable to do chest compressions for fear of setting off the round, they gave him epinephrine. His heart soon restarted and they could finally operate to remove the RPG.

Sgt. Brown used an unusual instrument to gently remove the RPG's tail fins -- a hacksaw. The surgeons reached inside Moss, steadying the still lethal rocket, inches from the soldier's beating heart. They then gently eased the rocket out, with the detonator aimed at Brown's flak vest.

Brown quickly walked out of the aid station to a bunker and detonated it. The sound of the explosion thundered through the base. As the surgeons closed up Moss' incisions, Sgt. Brown sat down outside to collect himself. Finally, the impact of the drama hit him.

"I started shaking. I just sat there. I knew I did everything I could to help him live. And that was very, very intense for me after the fact," he said.

Coming Home

In a matter of days, after stops at hospitals in Afghanistan and Germany, Pvt. Moss was rushed to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. There his wife, Lorena, saw him for the first time and it was almost too much to bear.

"He looked very vulnerable. I went in, and ... I walked away. I couldn't stay in the room. I broke down outside in the hallway," she said.

Moss' pelvis was shattered, his internal organs were severely damaged and he was unable to walk.

For Moss, this was another challenge in a lifetime of obstacles. Raised by family friends after a tough childhood, he had become a high school football standout, got into college, got married and had a family.

As broken as Moss' body was, he focused from the very start on recovery. He said he didn't need a doctor to tell him if he'd be able to walk again.

"I told [the doctor] ... I could feel my feet, I'm going to walk again. Told him just like that," Moss said.

For his wounds in combat, Pvt. Moss had a Purple Heart coming. But he wanted to wait. It was important for him to be able to stand to receive it.

He underwent four major surgeries followed by intense physical therapy. Pvt. Moss' recovery was steady … moving from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane.

"I wanted to walk and get my medal, I wanted to stand up, to let them know I fought hard to get where I came from," Moss said. "They say 'Army Strong' [and] I wanted to be an example of that, and I was. So I stood up, I walked over there and got my medal."

A year later Moss is home with his family and the new baby daughter, Ariana, he thought he would never meet. Despite the aches and pains, he is grateful for the risks so many soldiers took that day.

"I was given a second chance. And to whom much is given ... much is expected. So a lot is expected of me," Moss said.

For Sgt. Brown, there was never a question about taking the gamble.

"He was American, he was a solider, he was a brother and he was one of us. And there was nothing gonna stop us from doing what we knew what we had to do … We knew we did right. In that screwed up world we did something right," Brown said.

The soldiers responsible for saving Pvt. Moss were recognized for their service that day and the Army has not changed its policy regarding unexploded ordnances in soldiers.

Epilogue: Recognition for Service

Several soldiers involved with saving Moss have since been honored or promoted. Here are their current ranks and awards they have received.

Maj. John Oh, general surgeon -- The Soldier's Medal

Maj. Kevin Kirk, orthopedic surgeon -- Army Commendation Medal with Valor

SSG Eric Wynn and Pfc. Channing Moss -- Purple Heart

CW3 Jorge Correa, MEDEVAC pilot, and Sgt. John Collier, flight medic -- Air Medal with Valor

CW2 Jeremy Smith, co-pilot, and SSG Christian Roberts, crew chief -- Air Medal

Sgt Jared Angell, field medic, and SFC Dan Brown, explosives expert -- Bronze Star with Valor

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