The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


June 25, 2007

Posting date: 6/25/07

I thought Sandbox readers would appreciate an update on the intrepid J.R. Salzman, whose March 22nd post COPING inspired more Comments than almost any other essay on our site. Both J.R. and his wife Josie are featured in the following article about the SUDS program (Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba Diving). Here is the opening section of the piece, with a link to the entire story:

Six months after an explosive device cost him his lower right arm, Wisconsin Army National Guard sergeant and world-class athlete Darrell "J.R." Salzman has found the great equalizer.Framed_salzman_diving_2


"The hardest thing that I've had to do [since the injury] was actually here," Salzman said as he floated in full scuba-diving gear in Walter Reed Army Medical Center's aquatic therapy pool in early June. "You have to tread water for 10 minutes. Treading water for 10 minutes with half a hand -- that was so hard do do. So hard. A couple of times, I went underwater, but I fought it out and stuck with it. I'm still here. I made it."

An explosively formed penetrator (EFP) cost Salzman his right arm below his elbow and the ring finger on his left hand; it also inflicted left-hand nerve damage that affected surviving fingers.

It is John W. Thompson, a former Colorado National Guard Soldier who is Salzman's volunteer scuba instructor, who calls water the great equalizer, and Salzman and other wounded warriors say they agree.

"Many things are just easier to do in the water for amputees," Thompson said...

(Click here to read more. And to see the video that goes with the story, click here.)


You are an inspiration to everyone out here! I've been following you and Josie since this all happened, and the strides you have made are amazing.
You both stay strong and know we are praying for you!

Yay! A triumph....congratulations!
Water, according to so much myth and legend in the world...and science, is the mother of life upon the earth.
It is rather nice to think of you finding an equalizing embrace therein!

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