‘Wounded’ would insinuate that I am still injured and I am not,” retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills told the hosts of “Fox and Friends.”
Mills became a quadruple amputee after serving three tours in Afghanistan. On his last mission, he was leading a disposal ordinance team through an abandoned Afghanistan National Army security post when he was hit by an improvised explosive.
The injuries left Mills without the use of his arms or legs. Today he is one of only five surviving quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fox News reports. Despite the loss of his limbs, Mills doesn’t consider himself disabled.
He’d rather be called a “recalibrated warrior.”
“I have scars, they are pretty awesome, but I might as well keep pushing forward,” he told Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy.
Mills’ story is told in his own book, “Tough As They Come,”and in the Fox Nation documentary, “Travis: A Soldier’s Story,” which examines his path from high school, where he stood out as a star athlete, to the military, where he became a weapons squad leader, to the day an IED put him on a much different path.
“We had a call. There was an IED threat in the area. We had to go check it out and see if there was one,” Mills says in the film. “I happened to take my backpack off and I set it on the ground and underneath it was a bomb.”
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Mills and his team had swept the ground twice, but he didn’t notice the IED until after he set his 120-pound backpack full of ammo on top of it.
“It took my right arm, right leg off automatically. My left leg came off during surgery and my left arm came off two days later,” Mills said.
Moments later, at a medical station, Mills was facing death. His life had been changed forever.
“I remember actually while we were working on him — one of the things he said was, ‘I just want to be able to hold my little girl again,'” combat medic Sgt. Alex Voyce told Fox Nation.
Thanks to the efforts of doctors in the field and stateside at the Walter Reed Medical center, Mills survived the ordeal, and emerged with a new outlook on life. He uses his story to inspire others through the Travis Mills Foundation, which provides post 9/11 veterans and their families with an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid, barrier-free vacation to Maine, where they participate in adaptive activities, bond with other veteran families and enjoy much-needed rest and relaxation in Maine’s great outdoors.”
Mills said he brought 89 families to Maine in 2017 and 130 in 2018. In 2019, he’s already helped more than 200 enjoy the solitude and peace of the Maine wilderness, and expects to see at least 400 by 2021.
“we’re one of the top foundations out there and I am very proud to say that,” he said.
Today, Mills follows his foundation’s mission, “Never give up, never quit.”As he told Doocy, it’s something he thought up during rehabilitation.
“I was doing a workout – I think the documentary has a clip of it – and the occupational therapist asked me…’Hey, you can relax. You want to quit?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m never going to quit’ and I just kind of stick by it now.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.