Wounded warrior reenlists after amputation
November 8, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage are the values that the Army expects all Soldiers to exemplify.
Most Soldiers live every day by these values, but one Soldier went above and beyond what was expected of him, despite the hardships he has endured.
Sgt. Shaun Tichenor, a member of 3rd Battalion, 85th Mountain Infantry (Warrior Transition Unit) and formerly an infantryman with C Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, recently chose to reenlist to continue his military service, despite losing a leg due to injuries sustained in the Arghan-dab River Valley, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, during 3rd Brigade Combat Team's most recent deployment.
While deployed, Tichenor had the dangerous job of clearing dismounted improvised explosive devices from the road so that the rest of the company could pass through safely.
"I was the team leader for the clearance team on our dismounted patrol, and I stepped on a pressure plate IED. It shattered my heel bone and dislocated my ankle," he said.
After being evacuated to stateside hospitals, it became apparent that if he kept his leg, he would never run again. Tichenor chose to have his leg amputated, and he endured a year of recovery to get to the point of being able to run once more. Tichenor said his Family supported his decision to amputate, because they knew that he could not handle never running again.
"They were worried, but (they) were with me 100 percent because they know (I) wouldn't be able to deal with the alternative," he said.
Tichenor and his Family refused to let this life-altering decision derail their goals, relationships or outlook.
"It has given me a better outlook on life, but for the most part I am back to more day-to-day activities that I was doing before the injury," he said.
Despite his injuries, he hasn't lost hope in life or given up on his goals of having a military career. He recently reenlisted, with the support of his wife and Family.
"My long-term goal is to do 20-plus years and retire as a command sergeant major, as that was my goal before I got injured," Tichenor said. "(My) wife is all for it. She was a huge part of my recovery, and (she) held me accountable for the goals that I set."
According to Tichenor, even something like losing a limb is not an excuse to stop working towards one's goals.
To Soldiers who feel like they can't make it through their hardships, Tichenor offers words of encouragement.
"Quit feeling sorry for yourself and continue mission, and you can get back to a 'normal' life with hard work and determination," he said.