John Wayne, born on the 4th of July, hangs tough

A friend and co-worker brought this story to my attention today:

… Staff Sgt. John Wayne Walding of Groesbeck, Texas, that is.

In April 2008, Walding and nine other Special Forces Soldiers from a 3rd Special Forces Group assault team were attacked by the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin while searching for insurgents in Afghanistan’s Shok Valley.

Over the six-and-a-half-hour firefight, more than 150 insurgents were killed. The members of the assault team were each awarded the Silver Star in December 2008 for their courageous actions.

Walding, one of several team members injured, took a bullet through his right leg under his knee.

“I ripped off my boot lace and literally tied my leg to my thigh to keep it from flapping around,” he said.

After his injury, Walding knew he wasn’t going to give up and leave the Army. He also didn’t want to spend the rest of his career behind a desk.

“You don’t become a Green Beret because you ‘kind of like it,’ you become a Green Beret because you love it, and can’t imagine being anything else,” he said.

While recuperating, Walding worked as an assistant instructor at 3rd SFG’s sniper detachment at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he refused to lower his personal standards because of his injury. But in order to become a full-time instructor, he had to complete the Special Forces Sniper Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School….

Of course, he completed the course. Kind of makes me think I should shut up about my stupid sore thumbs