Petty Officer Third Class Dustin Kirby, a U.S. Navy corpsman, was severely wounded by an Iraqi sniper on Christmas afternoon, his family and the Marine Corps said.
The bullet struck the left side of his face while he was on the roof of Outpost Omar, the position his unit occupies in Karma, a city near Falluja in Anbar Province. He suffered extensive damage to his jaw and upper palate, but after several surgeries was conscious and on a ventilator in a military hospital in Germany, his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth DeTreux, said by telephone Thursday...It was his second tour in Iraq. He married weeks before leaving the United States.
DeTreux said Kirby, rendered speechless by the structural damage to his mouth, had begun writing notes to communicate within minutes of being shot, when he jotted a note to his platoon before being evacuated by helicopter. In the first note he apologized to the company's senior enlisted man for being wounded, the colonel said. He then refused a stretcher and insisted on walking to the helicopter under his own power.