Maj. Kent Solheim, Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Company commander, defends his position from insurgent small arms fire during a fire fight in Kunar province, Afghanistan, Mar. 7, 2012. Solheim was injured July 27, 2007 in Karbala, Iraq, while conducting a raid to capture an insurgent commander. During the firefight that ensued, Solheim was shot four times. Solheim did not initially lose his leg. It was only after he lost function of his lower left leg that doctor’s felt there was a slim chance of making a full recovery. Solheim eventually elected to amputate his leg below the knee. Solheim was motivated by others he knew who continued to serve on active duty with a prosthetic.
“Last year I sat at the bedside of a friend who had just lost both legs in Afghanistan,” said Solheim. “He told me this was the hand he’s been dealt, so he should make the best of it. I took those words to heart and would like to think this is my mantra also. This is the hand I’ve been dealt, but life goes on and I will make best of it.”
U.S. Army Major Robert Eldridge, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group executive officer, prepares before mounting a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, May 7. Eldridge was injured while on a combat patrol in Shkin, Patika province, Afghanistan, Dec 17, 2004. He was in the lead vehicle when it was struck by an anti-tank mine. Upon arriving at Forward Operating Base Salerno, his left leg was amputated in order to save his life.
“You can get angry and upset, but you can’t get angry and upset if you don’t do anything about it,” said Eldridge. “These guys make it through the (Special Forces) qualification course for a reason. They have the mental capacity to overcome something like this. You see them in the hospital and they’re the guys figuring out what they need to do to get better, not waiting around for someone to do it for them."