(AMAZING)... HE IS MISSING ONE EYE, THE ROOF OF HIS MOUTH AND CAN BARELY EAT OR DRINK - BUT AMERICA'S 'MOST INJURED SOLDIER' IS GOING BACK TO WAR
Captain D.J. Skelton will take charge of 192 men from his unit and fight in the dangerous plains of Southern Afghanistan.
Skelton was seriously wounded in Iraq and chose to stay on active duty.
The now, 33 year-old, was blown up by rocket-propelled grenades in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004.
All he remembers is ‘screaming the whole time' and ‘wanting to die' then waking up at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C.
Shrapnel had gone through his right cheek and torn apart his jaw and the roof of his mouth.
He had also been shot in the chest and had a ‘shrapnel tunnel' through his body.
It has taken six years and more than 60 surgeries for him to recover but he still has a missing left eye, only has partial use of his left arm and limited use of his left ankle.
The roof of his mouth has gone and he cannot eat or drink without a custom prosthetic.
Yet, Capt Skelton says, ‘I wanted to return to my men.
‘The fact is they never quit on me, and I wasn't going to give up my fight and quit.'
So, he used his time in recovery to study and better himself.
He has taught himself Chinese Mandarin at a language school, graduated from West Point military academy in New York where he allegedly illegally jumped off a 900-ft high bridge in a daredevil stunt.
When asked about his mental health, he responds: ‘I can either dwell on what happened and be miserable and pissy and complain or I can look at what I do have left and figure out how to make the most of my new life... how to make what I have work while always looking for creative ways to make up the difference.'
Capt Skelton is due to rejoin the 2nd Stryker Cavalry in the coming months.
General Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, said:
‘Capt Skelton is providing a great example of courage, strength and commitment.
‘Although his body was wounded, his warrior spirit was not'.