Skip to comments.Airman meets doctor who saved her
Posted on 12/08/2005 3:41:10 PM PST by SandRat
12/8/2005 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- More than five months, 8,000 miles and countless prayers led to an unlikely reunion at a Colorado animal sanctuary.
Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana and Maj. (Dr.) Paul Morton first met June 25 in Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq -- a hot summer day the major described simply as chaotic. They met again Dec. 2 on a cold winter day in the relative calm of the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary in Monument, Colo.
At Kirkuk Sergeant Dana, a former 21st Security Forces Squadron dog handler, hovered near death. An improvised explosive device detonated right underneath her Humvee seat during a convoy patrol near the base.
Major Morton, a 10th Medical Group emergency room physician at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., was one of the more than 20 members of the Kirkuk medical trauma team that helped save her life that day.
Major Morton said Sergeant Danas lungs were severely injured and she had massive internal bleeding. She needed 19 blood transfusions to keep her alive.
Our entire team thought she was going to die, Major Morton said.
A Black Hawk helicopter evacuated Sergeant Dana to Balad Air Base, Iraq. Major Morton and a team of medics went with her.
The helicopter ride was the scariest 45 minutes of my life -- and career, Major Morton said. Jamie almost died multiple times, and I remember myself vividly praying. Im amazed to see her alive today.
Major Morton and Sergeant Dana have been in touch via e-mail for the past month. But this was the first time since Iraq they had been able to meet in person. They embraced when they met again.
Major Morton said, You look a lot better than the last time we met.
Sergeant Dana doesnt remember much from the first meeting other than a split second of confusion and asking to see her military working dog, Rex, who also survived the blast.
During the helicopter flight, Major Morton noticed something about the young woman.
She had an inner strength -- and something deep inside of her to stay alive -- that was outside of this world, he said.
Word of the attack quickly reached her family, friends and coworkers here. They set up a Web site dedicated to supporting Sergeant Dana, took donations and offered many prayers on her behalf.
Today, the Web site has received more than 360 heartfelt messages of encouragement and support from family, military and civilian friends around the world.
The support remained constant throughout her critical days at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, and into the painful months of recovery and surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Md. And it was there through her homecoming.
Jamies recovery was nothing short of miraculous, said Maj. Paul Cairney, the 21st Security Forces Squadron commander. She is very blessed to be alive.
Sergeant Dana is by no means fully recovered, but hopes remain high for her continued improvement. She walks with a cane and takes medication daily for pain. Her life has been forever altered.
Many have been inspired by her true, fighting spirit.
Her strong will is clearly evident today. She is determined to live life to the fullest, attend veterinary school and pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She also plans to continue to volunteer, much as she did before the attack, and care for the horses and animals of the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary.
I love working with animals, she said. They are a major part of my life, and I dont want to give it up.
The sergeant says she has no regrets.
I wanted to be a part of it, and I would go back to Iraq in a heartbeat if I could, she said.
Sergeant Dana said she wants to support the troops and recognize the men and women who are putting their lives on the line every day and dying for our country.
And I want to thank my family, friends and the Air Force who have all been behind me every step of the way, she said.
Air Force PING
What a great story. I thank both the young Airman and the wonderful young doctor for serving our country.
Bump for Freedoms Heros...
Darn watery screen.
Did they give Rex to Jamie finally? I sure hope so, this is a soldier and her Dog whose story of Bravery and Strength deserve to be presented to President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld. They would want to know and meet her and Rex,for sure. She is truly an American Heroine and Rex is a Hero as well.
Ditto on the watery screen.
I had my browser open twice and had the Canteen ping on the other one ping.
Mine's just a bit blurry - it was fine just a few minutes ago.
Do believe they did.