Wounded soldier: "If they'd let me, I'd go back tomorrow." - WSPA.com

Wounded soldier: "If they'd let me, I'd go back tomorrow."

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JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL) -

Josh Hall wants to go back.

He's physically strong.   He craves the adrenaline of serving on the front lines in Afghanistan with is comrades in the United States Army's 82nd Airborne.   He's hungry for more.

"I started this because I wanted to serve my Country, and my injury doesn't change that,"  Hall said.

But that injury did change his body forever.

On July 31, 2012, Hall, 23, volunteered to lead a patrol into an area south of Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Their mission was a dangerous one: to secure areas newly taken from the Taliban.    "We were getting shot at every day," Hall said.

Just a few weeks before that mission, Hall re-enlisted for a second tour of duty.   

"I knew we had to clear an area on the other side of a tall wall," Hall said.

He told the rest of his men to stay back.   "No use in all of us being in danger when it only took one person to check," he said.

"I stepped over the wall and cleared the bottom of the wall," said Hall.  "As I was coming down over the wall, I saw the pressure plate."

Hall remembers trying to stop his left heel from touching the dismantled improvised explosive, a home-made death trap holding 90 pounds of explosives.

The blast knocked Hall more than 20 feet away from the wall and onto the men with him on patrol.   Despite the intensity of the blast, Hall never lost consciousness.   

"I knew right away it was gone," Sgt. Hall said, motioning to where his left leg used to be.   

Medics transferred Hall to Germany, then to Walter Reed Army Hospital in the United States.   There, he he spent week in a drug-induced coma as doctors treated severe injuries, external and internal.  

"Several times, they thought he was going to die," said Josh's mother Michelle Caudill.

When the drugs wore off, Hall faced his darkest moment in whole ordeal.    "I'd say once I started coming to and realized that my guys were still over there and I wasn't," Hall said.   "And just being in the hospital for months.   I was in bed.  I couldn't move."

But Hall says, despite the gravity of his injuries and the realization he likely could never serve in combat again, he never wished for death.   

"The infantry instills it in us to not give up," Hall said.  "It's hard to turn it off.  It makes us hard to kill."

Sgt. Josh Hall says his next step is school, possibly medical school.  He wants to be a trauma surgeon.  

"I don't want to sit and draw and check and do nothing," said Hall.   "I'm only 23.  So I've got plenty of years to do something else and make a difference."

And Hall says, despite the visible reminders of a Taliban's hidden weapon, he's not angry.   "I went, I knew the risks when I signed up for the second time, and I made peace with it a long time ago," said Hall.  "So no.  There's no reason to be.  I did my job.  I got to bleed for my country.  And I'd do it all over again."

Copyright 2013 WJHL.  All rights reserved.

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