Josh Hargis, a U.S. Army Ranger with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, was wounded last week in an attack in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan that left four other members of his team dead. This photo and a letter from his commander was sent to his wife Taylor.
Taylor Hargis posted the note and photo of her husband raising his right arm in salute as he was awarded a Purple Heart. The post has been shared nearly 4,000 times on Facebook.
Josh was seriously wounded as you know and survived for almost two hours after his injury before arriving to the hospital. Josh was immediately pushed through a series of surgeries and emerged hours later into an intensive care unit here at our base in Afghanistan. Despite being in intense pain and mental duress, Josh remained alert and compassionate to the limited Rangers that were allowed to visit him bedside. Prior to Josh being moved to Germany for his eventual flight to America, we conducted a ceremony to award him with the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. A simple ceremony, you can picture a room full of Rangers, leaders, doctors, and nurses surrounding his bedside while the Ranger Regimental Commander pinned the Purple Heart to his blanket. During the presentation the Commander publishes the official orders verbally and leaned over Josh to thank him for his sacrifice. Josh, whom everybody in the room (over 50 people) assumed to be unconscious, began to move his right arm under the blanket in a diligent effort to salute the Commander as is customary during these ceremonies. Despite his wounds, wrappings, tubes, and pain, Josh fought the doctor who was trying to restrain his right arm and rendered the most beautiful salute any person in that room had ever seen. I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive care unit that day. Grown men began to weep and we were speechless at a gesture that speak volumes about Josh's courage and character. The picture, which we believe belongs on every news channel and every news paper is attached. I have it hanging above my desk now and will remember it as the single greatest event I have witnessed in my ten years in the Army.
Hargis, a Cincinnati native, has been transferred to a hospital in Germany, then to San Antonio, Texas, for treatment, WLWT reports.
Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.