Bush Lauds Wounded Warrior for Serving Other Troops, Families
(November 27, 2008)
Army Staff Sgt. Josh Forbess
(photo by DoD)
||WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2008
– President George W. Bush presented a
prestigious award today to a severely wounded
warrior at Fort Campbell, Ky., who mentors other
wounded troops and their families and volunteers
at the post's Fisher House.
Bush presented the President's Volunteer Service
award to Army Staff Sgt. Josh Forbess, praising
him for serving his nation in uniform, and going
the extra measure to serve others in need.
The president lauded Forbess during a
pre-Thanksgiving Day visit to the Fort Campbell,
noting that he'll greatly miss the opportunities
he's had as commander in chief to spend time
with those who serve the country in uniform.
Forbess is one of just five 101st Airborne
Division soldiers who survived a fiery Black
Hawk helicopter collision over Mosul, Iraq, in
November 2003. Then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petreaus,
who commanded the “Screaming Eagles” at the
time, called the crash that killed 17 of
his soldiers a gut-wrenching
low point for the entire division.
“The loss of 17 soldiers in one night when
two helicopters collided over Mosul was just a blow beyond
belief,” he told American Forces Press Service after the
division had redeployed in March 2004. “It's like losing 17
children. It's almost beyond comprehension -- a terrible,
terrible blow to the organization and the individuals in
Forbess, who didn't wake up from the incident until eight
weeks later, lost an ear and half of his nose and received
broken bones, extensive burns and smoke inhalation injuries.
The accident launched his long, painful and heroic return to
recovery as he struggled to return to duty and help his
fellow wounded soldiers.
As he recovered, the 29-year-old Decatur, Ill., native
called the opportunity to return to active duty the driving
force that kept him motivated. “I love my job. I love
training soldiers,” he told American Forces Press Service as
he was undergoing treatment at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
“There's nothing else I could do that I would enjoy as much
He expressed no doubt that he'd achieve his goal. “As long
as you have heart, there's nothing to stop you,” he said.
The driving force behind his efforts to recover fully and
return to full duty in the military is “all in here,” he
said, tapping his chest.
Today, Forbess is back on duty as senior noncommissioned
officer at Fort Campbell's Soldier and Family Assistance
Center. He's also been a volunteer at the post Fisher House
since it opened in 2006, leading wounded warrior meetings
and providing an example of what's possible for other
On hearing of the honor he would receive, Forbess told a
local reporter “just to be nominated is great.” He said he
expected to be speechless when he received the award.
Bush created the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2002
to recognize Americans who make a difference through
volunteer service. He has presented more than 650 of the
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
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