Wounded warrior relives total care experience

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
"A nurse walked in and placed her hand on my shoulder," said former Marine Sgt. Brian Sellers. "She told me that I was in Germany now and that everything will be okay."

Sellers was deployed to Camp Ramadi, Iraq from Aug. 10, 2004 through Oct. 23, 2004 as a vehicle commander with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. He recalls the events that caused him to leave Iraq.

"It was just like any other day," said Sellers. "We just finished patrolling an area of Ramadi that had frequent improvised explosive devices attacks and incidents of shooting at foot patrols. After returning to base, I inspected our vehicles while my Marines left to get some rest.

Just as I entered our barracks, a loud explosion blew through the doors and dazed me, making me unable to speak," Sellers added. "My fellow Marines loaded me into a humvee and rushed me to the field hospital. I panicked after feeling more blood rush down my neck until a calm, peaceful feeling overcame me and everything faded to black."

Sellers then woke up at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and began his path to recovery. After one day of treatment, he was transferred to Bethesda, Md., to resume treatment.

"For the first few weeks of treatment, the medical staff was unsure if I would be able to talk anymore," said Sellers. "However, after the staff found out I would be able to speak again, I started a long road of speech therapy. There was hours of training on how to move my tongue and eat.

"It took two months, but I was finally able to speak clear enough for people to understand me," said Sellers.

Even after the therapy there were still challenges in Sellers recovery he had to overcome.

"Adjusting to the fact that I was changed forever was difficult," Sellers said. "I would no longer be able to sound or look like I did before."

Sellers was able to adjust based on support through his family, friends and the Wounded Warrior Project.

"I overcame that challenge by surrounding myself with fellow wounded warriors through the Wounded Warrior Project," said Sellers. "My friends and family were also a big help in my acceptance of who I now am. All of these individuals were able to show me that they accepted me the way I was."

"The Wounded Warrior Project got me in contact with other service members who had gone through similar situations," Sellers added. "They were able to provide advice and encouragement on my road to recovery."

The Wounded Warrior Project offered Sellers a form of closure by inviting him to re-live the process he went through while still sedated.

"I decided to take the opportunity in order to thank the medical staff for all the hard work they do," Sellers said. "I also wanted the chance to see what happened during my time here."

Tours like the one are offered to many wounded warriors who wish to see the process of what happened to them.

"The importance of these tours is immeasurable," said Ryan Kules, a Wounded Warrior Project director. "The warrior can thank the medical staff for their help, to experience the recovery process while being able to understand it and show their appreciation to other warriors who are now going through the process they already went through."

Sellers showed his appreciation with this message to the people who organized this tour.

"Thank you for the amazing trip I had to Germany. After almost eight years of being injured I had just accepted the fact that those days in Germany would always be a mystery, but because of the WWP team in Germany I was able to put some pieces into this blanks and get back some of that lost time. Thank you very much."

The Wounded Warrior Project can be contacted through their website, www.woundedwarriorproject.org or on facebook by searching the Wounded Warrior Project.

Editor's Note: This is the first story in a three-part series on the experiences of warriors who get the chance to see how their recoveries began through the tours the Wounded Warrior Project offers.