On October 3, 2005, Sergeant Joseph Kapacziewski and his soldiers in a Stryker vehicle were coming to the end of their tour in Northern Iraq when their convoy was attacked by enemy fighters. A grenade fell through the gunner’s hatch and exploded, shattering Kapacziewski’s right leg below the knee, damaging his right hip, and severing a nerve and artery in his right arm.
He endured more than forty surgeries, but his right leg still wasn’t healing as he had hoped, so in March 2007, Kapacziewski chose to have it amputated with one goal in mind: to return to the line and serve alongside his fellow Rangers. One year after his surgery, Kapacziewski accomplished his goal: He was put back on the line, as a squad leader in the 3rd Ranger Battalion.
On April 19, 2010, during his eighth combat deployment (and fifth after losing his leg), Kapacziewski’s patrol ran into an ambush outside a village in eastern Afghanistan. After a fellow Ranger fell to withering enemy fire, shot through the belly, Sergeant Kap and another soldier dragged him seventy-five yards to safety and administered first aid that saved his life while enemy soldiers with heavy machine guns tried to kill them. His actions earned him an Army Commendation Medal with a V for Valor. He had previously been awarded a Bronze Star for Valor, and a total of three Purple Hearts for combat wounds.
Kapacziewski’s memoir is an inspiring and thrilling tale readers will never forget.