A soldier who lost both of his legs and two fingers in a blast in Afghanistan has been transferred to a hospital in Germany and could arrive in the United States this weekend.
Staff Sgt. Sam Shockley, 25, stepped on an IED as he and his fellow soldiers cleared a road Sunday. The combat engineer had a bad feeling about the road since it hadn't been cleared in some time. "He is the strongest person I know. He's brave. He's a hero," said Melissa Julian, Sam Shockley's older sister.
Shockley's father learned on a drive from Cincinnati to Dayton on Sunday that his son had been wounded. "It's a phone call you don't want to get. it just stunned me," John Shockley said.
Sam Shockley joined the Army after graduating from Ross High School in 2007. Before deploying to Afghanistan last October, Shockley served two tours of duty in Iraq. "Iraq didn't bother me as much. I had a bad feeling about Afghanistan because I just had a bad feeling," John Shockley said.
Shockley's sister and father described him as funny, caring and dedicated. "He is the strongest person I know. He's brave, he's a hero," Melissa Julian said.
Shockley's family and his fiancee are amazed by Sam's strength. While dealing with his own injuries, they said Sam is already talking about helping others. "He's told his fiancée he wants to go to school and be a physical therapist and help other soldiers. That's amazing to me because he just lost his legs."
Melissa Julian said before Sam was deployed in October, he told her he'd come home safely.
Meanwhile, Shockley's family say they're overwhelmed by the support they've received - especially online. People have donated more than $25,000 to help Sam and his fiancee, Emely Ramlo, as he faces a long recovery.
The Shockleys plan to travel to Walter Reed Medical Center to see Sam when he arrives in the United States. "I'm very proud of my son. Not only my son but there's other people out there, all the soldiers," John Shockley said.
Melissa Julian added, "I just want to see him more than anything right now. I just want to hold him and be with him and let him know that we're here for him."
Story filed on Wednesday, March 20, 2013
A soldier who graduated from Ross High School lost both of his legs and two fingers after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Sam Shockley, 25, called his fiancee Sunday to tell her he'd been wounded.
"He was calming me down. He was telling me 'I'm going to be ok, I'm going to be alright'," Emely Ramlo said. Local 12 News spoke with Ramlo by phone. She lives in Washington state where Shockley is stationed.
Ramlo said Shockley remembers the explosion that took his legs. "He said, 'I remember feeling it. He said 'I got flipped in the air and I remember falling into the hole that was made. And I just remember yelling out to my boys, get the tourniquets, get the tourniquets and he said they acted so fast and those guys they saved his life,'" Ramlo said.
Ramlo said Shockley and his fellow soldiers had taken a course a couple of weeks ago on using tourniquets. She also said he had a bad feeling about the road they were clearing of explosives since it hadn't been cleared in some time. "He had actually left me a text message that I didn't get until later. But it said 'hey baby I'm thinking about you and I want you to know if anything happens to me, I want you to take care of yourself."
In the four days since Staff Sgt. Shockley has been wounded, an effort to raise money for the couple has started online. Wednesday night, more than $23,000 had been raised. "It's so humbling. I didn't want any money from anyone...There's no way to say thank you enough."
Shockley was in Afghanistan Wednesday night awaiting a medical transport to Germany. Ramlo had hoped to join Shockley in Germany, but since the couple is not yet married, she doesn't believe she would be able to get on the base.
She is hoping to join Shockley when he returns to the United States - possibly in a week.