Sgt. Joseph Wilson was walking back to his truck in Afghanistan when enemy fire broke out around him and his team. He was hit in his left thigh and arm. Immediately he went down.
"I was bleeding massively. I thought the only way to fight death was to stay conscious, so I never lost consciousness," said Wilson, a corporal assigned to the 615th Military Police [MP] Company at the time. "I wanted to help my guys, but I couldn't stand up or raise my arm."
Wilson survived due to the quick response of his unit's medic and the other members on his team. He was medically evacuated to a hospital where he received treatment.
More than a year after sustaining his injuries, Wilson joined other servicemembers to honor MPs killed in combat at wreath-laying ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Sep. 25.
Wilson's scars are a constant reminder of his own experience, and he doesn't take for granted that he is alive and able to pay respect to these men and women.
"It is definitely a struggle sometimes to maintain since my deployment, but I am just fortunate that I made it home because there are many MPs that didn't," said Wilson, 289th MP Co., 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). "I am here because of their ultimate sacrifice to our Army and the nation as well."
All 20 names of the military police killed in theater over the last 12 months were read aloud during the ceremony. Wilson said he was really moved during this part of the remembrance.
"I was all choked-up while the names were being called," said Wilson, pausing for moment to reflect on his own experience. "One of those names could have been mine. I am very fortunate to be here representing these MPs. It is an honor that I will remember for the rest of my life."
Wilson also recognized the hardship that fallen Soldiers' Families have to go through, and the courage it takes to move on after their loss.
"I was just doing my duty just like everyone else," said Wilson. "I don't feel like a hero at all. These Families with lost loved ones are the heroes."
For that reason, Wilson is more thankful for the love and support that he has had from his own Family.
"I couldn't imagine not having them with me," said Wilson. "If it wasn't for my wife and Family, I don't know how I could have made it through."
What meant the most for Wilson was the appreciation and respect others showed toward the sacrifices of all fallen military police across the Army.
"I am so glad that we take this time to remember the MPs that have paid the ultimate price," said Wilson. "We are a small group with high standards. There aren't many of us, so it is essential that those that gave up so much are recognized."