Episode 4: About Veteran Joseph James

Get to know Sgt. First Class Joseph James and hear his story.


[MUSIC] Joe is an incredible dad, he's an incredible husband. He's so full of life. His goal, you know is to find the problem and fix it and encourage you again you know, to kind of pick you back up and get where you're laughing, you're happy again. Joe's your typical army guy. [LAUGH] He's a great guy. Met him through church, very dedicated to his family. Muah. I knew Joe for about a year before I realized he even was a double amputee. [MUSIC] I met him when I was 19. We just started dating and it was amazing. And I was like, I don't care what I have to do. Beg, steal, lie, cheat. Whatever I have to do, I will marry this woman. My dad said that he would bless the marriage, but I had to finish college. I promised that she would finish that degree, and that's what we did. And I finally went to my father-in-law and said, done. Like, seven years in. [LAUGH] We've been married over ten years now. [MUSIC] I joined the military, the US Army, July of 2000. I come from family of service members. My father was a Navy corpsman, my grandfather was a Navy Seebee in World War II, and so I learned a lot from my grandfather about serving, and why we should serve, and why we should not take things for granted. Joe's a great patriot and he served his country [MUSIC] April 8th, 2008. We were coming back from a mission with Iraqi military. Our four vehicles, we hit a roadside bomb. I was the gunner of the vehicle. Our Humvee doors were like bank vaults. It took off the front of the Humvee, it went through the driver's side door Door. It struck Major Rosenberg, and then since I'm higher up on the gunner it went through him, my leg, and then out the back left door. Blew the door completely right off. Both of my femoral arteries were severed. I was bleeding out. I was dying. I needed to do something. I needed, I didn't want to die so I started tourniqueting my own legs. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] I remember feeling so helpless. Know that here I was halfway around the world and I couldn't hold his hand and tell him Whatever's gonna happen, we're gonna go through it together. Joe had called me. I was so relieved to hear his voice. He asked me how I felt about it, and I said, well, I think I'm still in shock. And he goes, oh, you're in shock? Do you have any idea how much blood I lost? I'm the one in shock. And she told me, she was like, when he messed with me on that, like joked about it, see I knew he would be Be fine. And I said don't worry about the legs, I'll get new ones. When he came back from the hospital, he came back with prosthetic legs and he has running legs, a lot of kind of legs. What I love about this leg, it allows me to walk around in shorts. And then as long as I keep it clean it's unnoticeable. People don't really stop and stare at my legs when I have these on. Joe puts on a great persona [UNKNOWN], out there gung-ho. But there's a lot of issues he was going through. Especially veterans with multiple deployments we would already have PTSD still in the Army. Like I had forms of PTSD after my first deployment. Well I think Joe already had PTSD when I met him so, I mean for me at least, there wasn't a big adjustment. I can't sleep at all, I try I'm working on that still. I have problems, nightmares and different things like that. So most of my problem is nerve pain. I have nerves that run up and down my leg. And it's on fire, they never stop. When I first stood up, it was on my right leg with crutches. [MUSIC] And I wanted to cry. It hurt so bad and was so painful. Now I can do anything but it took a long time. It took a lot of therapy, a lot of physical therapy. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]
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