In “Back in Action: An American Soldier’s Story of Courage, Faith, and Fortitude,” Captain David Rozelle tells the whole gripping story: from the day he said goodbye to his pregnant wife (it was Valentine’s Day 2003) and deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, to the fateful day four months later when a land mine tore off his right foot — and beyond, through months of agonizing rehabilitation efforts to his final triumphant recertification as “Fit for Duty.”
Captain Rozelle’s injury was a victory for the forces of darkness and evil in post-Saddam Iraq. They put a price on his head. They stalked him. They did everything they could to disrupt his mission. Finally, when an anti-tank mine tore off his right foot, the warriors of jihad in Iraq thought they had successfully neutralized one of their most resourceful, determined foes.
But they were wrong. Refusing to let his injury stop him, Captain Rozelle roared back into action — ultimately returning to Iraq as commander of an armored cavalry troop. Just four days before the first anniversary of the fateful day he lost his foot, Captain Rozelle took command; two weeks later, he was on his way back to Iraq. He became the first amputee in recent military history to resume a dangerous command in the field during a hot war.
Rozelle, who has been awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Medal, speaks with brisk frankness about his post-amputation battles and the gritty determination that saw him through. He recounts his inspiring battle back through rehabilitation, as he learned to walk with a prosthetic foot and did his utmost to show he still had the stuff to be a soldier: completing five sprint-distance triathalons, an Olympic-distance triathalon, and skiing, snowboarding, and mountain climbing through Disabled Sports USA.
It’s an astonishing story of courage, determination, heroism, and bedrock patriotism. “Every now and again,” says Rozelle, “I would get the standard, ‘That is horrible, how do you feel about the war?'” The fearless captain would respond: “How do you feel about your freedom? If you aren’t willing to die for it, then you aren’t American.”
David Rozelle was willing to die for it, and he is still willing to put his life on the line for it, despite the injury he has already suffered. Back in Action is a bracing reminder of the commitment that every American should have to the cause of freedom, if we hope to continue to enjoy that freedom — and an extraordinary and inspiring story of devotion to duty overcoming all obstacles.
Meet David Rozelle, American hero:
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