Leaving the AOR on their own termsBy Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Published April 11, 2018
The combat veterans were escorted by Medal of Honor recipient and wounded warrior, Master Sgt. (Ret.) Leroy Petry. This event was Petry’s 24th trip escorting service members on behalf of OPE. Since the inception of OPE in 2009, more than 120 injured service members have returned to Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the unique initiative designed for wounded service members who are thriving in recovery and are capable of returning to theater.
Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.
SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Eight wounded warriors, who have visible and invisible injuries from combat, were on a mission to find closure by returning to the place of their traumatic incident through Operation Proper Exit, April 4-8, 2018.
The combat veterans briefly visited an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia and departed on a U.S. Air Force C-130 enroute to Bagram, Afghanistan to take part in the 24th iteration of the event. The participants shared their stories of resiliency with deployed service members at multiple forward operating bases in the area of responsibility and returned to the site of their combat injury or the medical facility where they were treated.
“I’ve been given an opportunity to go back to complete my mission and walk off the battlefield with my head held high,” said Spc. Justin Lane, former U.S. Army combat engineer.
The journey not only provided closure for those who suffered obvious physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, it also allowed a unique perspective from service members in support elements.read more here