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July 4th, 2012
08:37 AM ET

Iraq vet says adversity will come - be ready!

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed.  Army Major Daniel Gade was wounded in action twice in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. He continues his active duty military career as an instructor at West Point, where he teaches American Politics. Gade also inspires many as an endurance athlete - he just completed a 3,000 mile bike ride across the United States.

When I woke up in the hospital in February 2005 after having been hurt in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Iraq on January 10, I knew that I was seriously hurt.

My right leg was missing at the hip, my skull and spine were fractured, my entire abdomen was open up to my sternum, and I had limited use of my hands due to nerve damage.

That wasn’t the worst of it, either: I had many different forms of bacteria colonizing my wounds, any of which had the potential to kill me. In short, I was mangled.
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