A Pryor Marine who lost his leg in combat in Iraq undergoes another operation as doctors at a Maryland military hospital try to repair some of the damage.
News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin talked to Gunnery Sgt. Bill Gibson by phone from his hospital bed about the ambush that changed his life forever.
A Marine for 15 years, member of the elite Recon unit, and veteran of the first Gulf War, Gunnery Sgt. Bill Gibson has always known the risks. He says none have stopped him from doing his job. "That day we were doing a clearance in zone like we do every day."
It was in Ramadi. Gibson's men and the Iraqi soldiers they're training were doing house to house checks, when someone with a machine gun opened fire. "We only started moving maybe 20 ft, 30 ft tops and I looked back over and he had been shot in the thigh."
It was an Iraqi soldier. One Gibson had grown close to. "I decided at that point, I told him I'm coming back across the street."
Gibson and others moved to evacuate the soldier who was badly bleeding. He says the unit was about to fall back, when it happened. A sniper took a shot, and for the first time ever, Gibson went down. "Basically it felt like somebody hit me with a sledgehammer right in the knee. It severed all the nerves, it hit me directly in the kneecap and blew out the back of my leg."
Gibson says he knew instantly he'd lost his leg, but had no time to think about it, he was still under fire, and he says death wasn't an option. "I fell to the ground and I kept firing, I changed my magazine at that point because I was almost empty. "
He says his only thought was to protect his men. "I was bleeding tremendously. They had to drag me 30 feet there was this huge blood trail. The whole time I was just thinking of firing my weapon at the target and making sure my troops were good."
Now safe in a US hosptial, Gibson has one regret. "I wish I was with my me. Getting wounded, it doesn't affect the fact, I'm not scared to be back out there, I'm not concerned to be back out there, I want to be back out there to keep doing the good things that we were doing. They still need our help."
Sgt Gibson hopes to be moved to Walter Reed hospital in the coming weeks where he'll be fitted with a prosthetic leg. Gibson says he's already talked to his commanding officer about returning to Iraq to use his experience to help younger Marines.