TSgt Reese Hines did a lot of waiting during his first deer hunt Saturday. But all that waiting, paid off. "I was looking right down there where that gator thing is, it came right out in front of me," Hines says. Hines was the first veteran to shoot a deer, even though he doesn't see as well as most hunters because of injuries he received in Afghanistan.
"It was April 9, 2011. We were southwest of Kandahar," Hines recalls a day he'll never forget. "I was EOD and we were called out to clear an IED that engineers had found." That's when things took a turn for the worst. "I don't have memory of it but I came up to it and it blew up when I was laying in front of it."
Hines lost his right index finger, right eye, had a ruptured artery in his brain, suffered intense injuries to his left leg and broke every bone in his face. It's a miracle he's even alive. "A lot of people were surprised I survived, the doctors and lots of people didn't expect me to."
Hines believes he lived because his friend, TSgt Tony Capra, was watching his back. But Capra didn't carry Hines to safety or give him first aid. Capra wasn't even in Afghanistan when the bomb exploded, because he died three years earlier... doing the same job... on the same date. "April 9th, 2008. "
The eery coincidence isn't lost on Hines who's paid tribute to Capra in ink, "that's what the angel wings are for, for him." Now he lives each day to the fullest, no matter if he's waiting in the woods for a deer or waiting to be reunited with his battle brother again.