Drill Sergeant Determined To Return Army Strong
(October 9, 2009)
Staff Sgt. Luis Elias has no
problem with his push-ups. He also finished the Ironman run, 13.1
miles in just over two hours.
||(October 5, 2009 ANS) -- A sudden accident may have cost Staff Sgt.
Luis Elias his hand, but it hasn't stripped him of his positive
attitude or impacted his plans for the future.
"Hopefully, in about a month or so, I'll be back to being a drill
sergeant," said Elias, who is currently receiving treatment at the
Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit.
On June 30, Elias was training his new Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga.
when a grenade simulator exploded in his right hand leaving just his
thumb. Surgeons at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center
amputated the hand.
Since then, Elias has been in physical therapy learning to use a
prosthetic hand and preparing for his return to
active duty. A bionic hand called the i-limb is on its way, and once
Elias has learned to use it, he will be back training young
He's hoping to go back to duty in November, but his
physicians have not given him a specific date. |
"It all comes down to the Soldier creed. I will never quit.
I take those words to heart," said Elias, who credits his
wife, Claudia, and four year-old son, Noah, with providing
him the extra strength and support he has needed.
Keeping in good physical shape is an important part of the
readiness to return to duty. He can do push-ups with one
Also, on Sunday, Sept. 27, he competed in the running
portion of the ESI Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in Augusta,
finishing his 13.1 miles in two hours and five minutes. He
did not compete in the swim or the bicycle portion of the
race because he did not have a recreational prosthetic, he
Elias joined the Army about six years ago soon after high
school graduation. Growing up in bad neighborhood in Miami.
Fla., he saw the Army as a way to provide a better life for
himself. He has served two tours in Iraq. He submitted his
drill sergeant packet after returning from his second tour
and had only been training new Soldiers for a few months
when the incident occurred.
"It's nice to see the product from beginning to end. It's
one of the joys of being a drill sergeant - seeing the
transition from civilian to Soldier," he said.
When he returns to duty, he believes he can be an
inspiration to his batch of new recruits.
"These Soldiers will end up going to Iraq," he said.
And maybe down range they will remember their drill sergeant
with a prosthetic arm and a never quit attitude, he said.
Article and photo by Charmain Z. Brackett
3rd HBCT, 3rd ID Public Affairs
Army News Service
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