Soldier who saluted while in coma said to be making progress
San Antonio Express-News
A severely wounded soldier from Ohio whose salute from a hospital bed in Afghanistan inspired the American public is making strides in his recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center.
A photo posted on Facebook showed a smiling Cpl., 24, in a wheelchair at BAMC with his dog, Dent, on his lap.
“Reunited and it feels so good! Dent was so happy to see his daddy,” the soldier's wife, Taylor Hargis, commented on her page this week.
Hargis was one of 11 U.S. troops wounded in an Oct. 6 suicide bomb attack. Four troops and a bomb-sniffing military working dog Hargis was handling were killed.
A photo of Hargis saluting from his hospital bed during a Purple Heart ceremony in Afghanistan has gone viral on the Internet, generating intense media interest. According to witness accounts, Hargis appeared to be unconscious when he suddenly raised his right arm to salute his regimental commander, despite the bandages, tubes and other medical equipment around him.
The scene, captured in a photo his wife released to the media, is said to have brought tears to many of the soldiers, doctors and nurses in the room. Some have called it “the salute seen around the world.” Hargis' mother, Laura Heitman of Cincinnati, said she was not surprised that despite his pain and grogginess from medication, her son remembered he was a soldier.
“That was just him doing what he thought was appropriate. Josh is a very determined young man,” she said.
Family members had said Hargis opted to be treated at BAMC to be close to his sister, a combat medic at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. The family has not discussed his injuries and has asked the media for privacy.