KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- On June 12, 2012 an improvised explosive device hit Staff Sgt. John Hosea's vehicle during a routine patrol severely wounding him, but his only thought was "where is Davis?"Then Capt. Patrick Devine, the chaplain on duty, began to comfort and pray with Hosea until Capt. Joel Britton, Hosea's unit chaplain, notified him that Spc. Nathan T. Davis did not make it.Six years later Devine, now a major and chaplain for Train, Advise and Assist Command-South and 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, watched as Hosea stepped off an aircraft in Afghanistan.Hosea, recently medically retired, and six other wounded warriors returned here April 7, as part of Operation Proper Exit.Operation Proper Exit began in 2009, by Feherty's Troops First Foundation, and has since allowed over 150 wounded warriors to return to Iraq and Afghanistan."The last time I saw sergeant Hosea he was flat on his back with severe back injuries, a broken leg and crushed ankle," said Devine. "When you see Soldiers leave the hospital you don't know how their life will be afterwards, so when I saw (Hosea's) name on the list of Soldiers coming I knew I wanted to see him."The other wounded warriors included Cmdr. William Danchanko, retired Master Sgt. Leroy Petry, retired Staff Sgt. Jaymes Poling, retired Sgt. Franz Walkup, Sgt. Johnathan Harmon, and retired Spc. Justin Lane.The program allows wounded warriors to witness firsthand the progression in the country, speak to service members currently deployed, and ultimately provide closure, according to its official website."I spent six months in the hospital learning how to walk, how to talk and how to function," said Hosea, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. "I got taken out of the fight and I didn't want to be taken out. I came back for closure because when I got hurt I left under someone else's terms."As part of the visit the wounded warriors toured NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit.The tour of the medical units was especially personal for Lane.Lane was taken to NATO Role III after an IED attack in July 2011 while conducting a routine route clearance patrol. During the impact, Lane lost both his legs and fell into a coma.After regaining consciousness, Lane went through rehabilitation and learned to walk with prosthetics. He is currently working toward his dream of becoming a professional musician.
Devine said he hopes the wounded warriors' stories of triumph help TAAC-South Soldiers during rough times."When our Soldiers get hurt it affects everyone not just the (individual) Soldier ... it affects everyone on the sidelines," said Devine. "It's important for us, as Soldiers, to know that being wounded is not the end, that life continues and we build on those experiences."To overcome his struggles with loss and injury, Hosea established the Nathan Tyler Davis Foundation in 2013."The foundation helps those who want to go to college, attend a trade school, or join the military," said Hosea. "On that day I lost a great Soldier, (Tyler's) dream was to help people."For the wounded warriors, especially Hosea, the message they wanted to send to the Soldiers of TAAC-South was that there is no shame in seeking help."When you get home the fight still goes on, what happens here doesn't end on the plane stateside," said Hosea. "So if we can help Soldiers during these meetings make it easier to transition once they get home, that's the goal."