Double-Amputee Returns to War

Dan Luckett joins 40 amputee vets fighting worldwide
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2010 5:40 PM CDT
Double-Amputee Returns to War
In this Sept. 13, 2010 photo, U.S. Capt. Dan Luckett, 27, of Norcross, Ga., cleans his gun at Combat Outpost Ashoqeh in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.   (Todd Pitman)

Dan Luckett assumed he lost the Army when he lost one of his legs and part of his foot after a bomb exploded under his Humvee in Iraq. But two years later, the 27-year-old is back on duty—a double-amputee fighting on the front lines of America's Afghan surge in one of the most dangerous parts of the volatile country. He's one of 41 American amputee vets serving in combat zones worldwide, according to the Pentagon, thanks in part to technological advances that have made highly effective artificial limbs a reality.

The AP takes a long look at Luckett and his "dogged self-determination." The young platoon leader vowed to rejoin the 101st Airborne Division just days after the blast. Bound to a wheelchair for the first month, Luckett first tried a prosthetic leg in July 2008; by February 2009, he had progressed so far he could run a mile in eight minutes, and went on to pass a physical fitness test that required him to run 12 miles in less than three hours while wearing a 35-pound pack. Promoted to captain, Luckett deployed to Afghanistan in May, where he fights using specialty prosthetic legs—including one whose high-tech axle allows him to cover uneven terrain ... and boasts purple toenails. (More Iraq war stories.)

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