Gravely hurt soldier loses long fight for survival

This came to my attention recently and I thought I'd post it although it happened last summer. Some might appreciate it, it certainly moved me.

Gravely hurt soldier loses long fight for survival

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The intensive-care unit for burn patients at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio treats some of the most traumatically wounded U.S. troops.

But doctors had never encountered a soldier like 19-year-old Pfc. Devon Gibbons, who had lost both legs, one arm and suffered other ghastly wounds.


"They don't even call him critical," the soldier's father, Mel, told the San Antonio Express News on Father's Day. "They don't have a category for it. They just call it Devoncare."

Gibbons, one of six sons of Mel and Bonnie Gibbons of Port Orchard, was considered the "miracle boy" for his 10-week fight to survive. Many from around the nation followed his story on a Web site his family created,, and hoped and prayed along with them for his recovery.

On Friday, however, the young soldier, infected with pneumonia, his temperature rising and his wounds still bleeding, closed his eyes and died, his family said.

"Please do not dishonor his sacrifice by being angry. He knowingly and willingly went to fight for others so they would be free and so the terrorists would never return to U.S. soil," Gibbons' parents, Mel, 57, a former Army helicopter mechanic, and Bonnie, said on the Web site.

"Devon was a strong spirit and he fought to stay with us for a while, but in the time we had with him here we were able to have some wonderful, in-depth talks. He was ready to move on and had a sense of urgency about him," the family said.

In the 10 weeks since a 600-pound bomb turned the Bradley fighting vehicle in which Gibbons was riding into a mangled inferno, he had drawn upon his Mormon faith, the love of his family and friends, and his own grit to fight for life.

He struggled on despite burns over 90 percent of his body, his legs and right arm gone, his bowels exposed, the skin unable to be sewn shut until his intestinal wounds healed, the San Antonio newspaper reported.

Pfc. Dean Bright, who ran through enemy gunfire to rescue those inside the flame-engulfed Bradley fighting vehicle, kicked open the door and saw Gibbons hanging upside down with his clothes burned off.

"The whole Bradley lifted up and smoke came through the floor," Bright told the News-Review of Roseburg, Ore.

Gibbons was airlifted after reinforcements repelled the insurgents.

He began the long odyssey of heavy medication, intensive care and skillful surgeries first in Baghdad, then in Germany and ultimately at Brooke.

Gibbons was one of nearly 18,500 U.S. troops wounded in the war in Iraq. He was cut down during combat operations in Taji. He was a cavalry scout with the 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas.

Gibbons and Army Sgt. Justin Dean Norton of Rainier near Olympia, also a member of Fort Hood's 4th Infantry Division who was killed Saturday near Baghdad, bring to 125 the members of the armed forces with ties to Washington state who have died in Iraq. Nationwide, more than 2,500 have died since the U.S. led invasion of Iraq began in March 2003.

Many from across the nation who followed Gibbons' story on his family's Web site responded with condolences after his death.

"Just want to thank you for sharing your son with us these past weeks," Bill and Kristi Osborne of Bremerton, who identified themselves as "the family of a soldier in Korea," wrote. "I, like all of us, read the updates daily and was truly amazed at his strength, humor and courage."

"I just wanted you to know that I am completely overwhelmed by the description of Devon and your reaction to this tragedy as his parents. You are showing tremendous courage, and you are honoring your son's legacy in a way I can't describe with words," wrote Jeremy Davis.

"God bless your family as you mourn, yet celebrate, a wonderful life."

Sgt. 1st Class Steven Ferguson, who identified himself as Gibbons' platoon sergeant, and Ferguson's wife, Rosa, thanked the Gibbons family for allowing the sergeant to spend time with their son in San Antonio.

"I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to know Devon. .... I will always have a part of Devon with me every day of my life."


quote = Gibbons was one of nearly 18,500 U.S. troops wounded in the war in Iraq..

This is an extreme amount of casualties - not normally mentioned in the press. Goes to show the real damage being inflicted by the insurgents, add to that our wounded.

Very brave of the soldiers family to share this with the world... RIP young warrior.


How about we leave it out of this story. And you have to account for the MINOR injuries as well, because most of those are RTD status. Even minor scratches can account for those wounded troop figures. Once again, a tad bit of fact not normally shown in the press.

And RIP brother.
You have to feel for Private Gibbons and his family. RIP.


Stand down mate, Job done


RIP Soldier
Sincere condolences to the family and friends of Pfc Gibbons.

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