Sunday, October 17, 2004

Heroes Amongst Us: George Perez

By ESTES THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - George Perez lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq more than a year ago, but despite the phantom pains that haunt him, he says he is determined to prove to the Army that he is no less of a man — and no less of a soldier.

"I'm not ready to get out yet," he says. "I'm not going to let this little injury stop me from what I want to do."

Perez, 21, still feels the sweat between his toes when he exercises. He's still plagued with nagging cramps in his calf muscle. And sometimes, when he gets out of bed at night without thinking, he topples over.

He is one of at least four amputees from the 82nd Airborne Division to re-enlist. With a new carbon-fiber prosthetic leg, Perez intends to show a medical board he can run an eight-minute mile, jump out of airplanes and pass all the other paratrooper tests that will allow him to go with his regiment to Afghanistan next year.

Read the whole story here.

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