After injuries in Afghanistan, solider regains focus through hunting
NRAHuntersrights.org correspondent Tron Peterson tells the story of Dustin: a Wounded Warrior who found a calling through his love of hunting:
When Spc. Dustin Morrison woke up on the morning of April 11, 2011, he had no idea that his life was about to change forever.
Dustin, an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Division, had joined the Iowa National Guard when he was 17 years old. In late October 2010, his unit was deployed to Afghanistan. Their job was to provide full-spectrum operations in a combat theater, including lethal and non-lethal capabilities, support to Afghan National Army and Police units, as well as assistance to humanitarian relief initiatives.
On the morning of April 11, Dustin and his unit expected it would be business as usual. They loaded up in the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) and headed out on a mission in the Paktia Province of eastern Afghanistan. The mood in the MRAP was tense. Everyone was focused on the mission and what they were trained to do. The sound of the loud diesel engine filled their ears as the vehicle moved steadily along the dirt road. The smell of wood smoke and the stench of the city penetrated their nostrils.
Dustin was joined on the mission by his teammates: Sgt. First Class Nicholas Jedlicka, Spc. Justin Christensen and Spc. Brent Maher, who was the gunner atop the MRAP. They had all served together and trained hard for any situation, but nothing could have prepared them for what happened next. As the vehicle came around a corner, it hit a 400-pound I.E.D, triggering one of the largest I.E.D. explosions in the history of Operation Enduring Freedom. The blast instantly killed Maher and injured Jedlicka, Christensen and Dustin.
Dustin sustained major injuries, including a burst lumbar vertebra, internal bleeding, broken jaw, lacerated spleen and kidneys, and a shattered left femur, right ankle and right hand. Fatty tissue from his broken femur got into his bloodstream and lungs, causing acute respiratory failure. Dustin was life-flighted to Germany where he received advanced care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Hear the rest of Dustin's recovery through hunting on NRAHuntersRights.org.