A Pryor Marine who lost his leg in combat in Iraq says he wants to return to the front lines. Gunnery Sgt. Bill Gibson wounded last week, told family members he'd be back on duty as soon as possible.
New on 6 reporter Heather Lewin talked to one of Gibson's fellow Marines, Cpl. Jon Ketcher, a lifelong friend, who says he's not surprised.
"Both of us knew since we were little, knew we was gonna be Marines." As soon as they turned 18, Bill Gibson and Jon Ketcher enlisted. Both served in the first Gulf war. Gibson went on to Somalia and several other deployments, becoming a member of the most elite force within the Marine Corps, Recon, where he was a scout sniper.
Another war called both men back to Iraq, this time with the National Guard. When that tour ended, Gibson re-enlisted and returned to Iraq once again as a Marine. "I just figured he was too ornery to get, anything to happen to him."
When an Iraqi soldier in Gibson's unit was hit in a firefight, Gibson went to rescue him. That's when an enemy sniper brought down the man Ketcher loves like a brother. "When I got the phone call from his mom, it was pretty bad. I'm just so grateful that he's alive. He's missing a limb, but he's alive, God had his hand on him."
Jon and Bill have a history that goes beyond the Marine Corps. The two military buddies first met at Pryor Junior High. â€œWe've been buds ever since then; we ran together all through high school, we were on the wrestling team together." The two have shared life's milestones; Gibson was the best man at Ketcher's wedding.
Ketcher has no doubt his friend means what he says about returning to duty. "He doesn't think about himself, what may happen to him, he just goes and does it. He sees someone in need, he receives a job that needs to be done, he just goes and does it."
Sgt Gibson's family is with him at a military hospital in Maryland. He'll be fitted with an artificial leg and go through several months of rehabilitation.