Fort Sill soldier's spine severed in Iraq

Thursday, July 15th 2004, 1:22 pm
By: News On 6

(Lawton, Okla.-AP) -- A Fort Sill drill sergeant who volunteered for duty in Iraq has returned home paralyzed after being hit by shrapnel from a mortar.

Sergeant Gene Westbrook was one of 27 people from the Army post who went to Iraq in January to train the Iraqi army.

His wife, Peggy Westbrook, said he sat down for breakfast on April 28th at Camp Muleskinner near Baghdad when he was hit in the right shoulder by mortar shrapnel.

The shrapnel cut through all but ten percent of his spinal cord.

Gene Westbrook returned home yesterday with a police escort and a hero's welcome.

His yard was decorated in red, white and blue, and the Veterans Administration had installed a wheelchair ramp on the family's front porch.