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The sailor had been back from war for just over a year when friends invited him to watch an unusually emotional training exercise for troops preparing to deploy.

The drill happened not on a military base but at a film studio, where Marine and Navy medics role-played wartime rescue missions with actors who had, in real-life, lost limbs in motorcycle or car accidents or to ailments such as cancer.

Those on hand weren’t sure how Joel Booth would react. The 24-year-old had been attached to a Marine battalion in Afghanistan as a naval combat medic—until he stepped on an explosive and doctors, two years ago, amputated his right leg below the knee. Since returning home he’d had to learn to adapt while also coping with the post-traumatic stress.

But Booth was transfixed as fake bombs exploded and medics practiced the type of rescue missions he’d once been on, saving the amputee actors—as he, in the end, had to be saved.

Read more at MercuryNews

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