Peterson also thanked the first responders who arrived on the scene a few minutes after the accident, buying precious time in the fight for Wiens's life, emergency personnel at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where Wiens was airlifted, the New England Organ Bank staff and Pomahac and the transplant team.
Wiens's transplant, which involved a whole face and the bony tissue of the nose, is the most complete face transplant in the U.S. to date, according to Brigham and Woman's Hospital.
Spanish doctors said they performed the world's first "full" face transplant last April, one involving the nose, lips, palate, teeth, cheekbones and jaw.
The Department of Defense contributed $3.4 million to Brigham and Woman's Hospital and covered Wiens's procedure. Wiens joined the Army but had to take a medical discharge because of knee problems, according to WFAA.
Wiens told WFAA that even if the surgery didn't work out, he'd be proud to know lessons learned would help wounded soldiers in the future.
Pomahac said two people are currently waiting for face transplants, including Charla Nash -- the women who lost her face and hands after being attacked by her friend's chimp.