Tags: soldier | salute | Purple | Heart

'Unconscious' Army Ranger Salutes During Purple Heart Ceremony

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 04:01 PM

By Lisa Barron


An Army Ranger injured in Afghanistan last week and thought to be unconscious stunned fellow Rangers when he saluted during his Purple Heart ceremony.

Cpl. Josh Hargis, 24, was hooked to a breathing tube at a military hospital in Germany after losing both legs in battle, but when the bedside ceremony began, he struggled with an attending doctor to raise his heavily bandaged hand and salute a commanding officer presenting him with the medal, reports WXIX-TV in Cincinnati.

After that photo went viral, it quickly became known as the "salute seen around the world."

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"I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive-care unit that day," the commander wrote to Hargis' wife, Taylor, in a letter she posted on Facebook.

"Grown men began to weep, and we were speechless at a gesture that speaks volumes about Josh's courage and character," the letter said.

There were about 50 Rangers, doctors, and nurses in the room, and it was the "most beautiful" thing any of them had ever seen, the commander wrote.

Hargis, who is expecting a baby with his wife, was injured when his unit, the 3rd Ranger Battalion, was searching for a high-value target in Panjwaj, Afghanistan, when they were hit by a suicide bomb, a TV report said. Four soldiers died in the attack.

"I'm overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed that that's my boy, that he could come from me. Yeah, I'm overwhelmed," Jim Hargis, Josh Hargis' father, told WXIX.

Josh Hargis was flown Tuesday to an Army hospital at Fort Sam Houston, near San Antonio, for more treatment.

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