Cpl. Joshua Hargis gives 'salute seen around the world' with his heavily injured right hand from a military bed in Afghanistan. (Source: Guardian of Valor/Taylor Hargis)
(RNN) – In the ultimate show of courage, valor and respect, one soldier has showed the nation that military pride extends through the most serious of injuries.
U.S. Army Ranger Cpl. Joshua Hargis, a 24-year-old native of Cincinnati, OH, was severely injured when his battalion conducted a mission to obtain a high value target in the southern Afghan district of Pajwai, according to the website Guardian of Valor.
Not much is known about the mission, but Guardian of Valor states that 36 members and a canine unit were a part of the search mission.
Battlefield reports suggest that as troops approached an unarmed man who exited the home of the suspected high-value target, a woman "wearing a suicide vest emerged from the house and blew herself up," killing several members of the unit and the dog, and injuring several others, including Hargis.
The incident occurred on Oct. 6 where four soldiers were killed and 12 others were injured, according to USA Today. Hargis' unit, the 3rd Ranger Battalion, is based out of Fort Benning, GA.
Following the initial explosion, 13 other "improvised explosive devices went off, killing and injuring more U.S. forces" as Army medics approached the scene.
Hargis evacuated from the area and was taken to a military hospital in Afghanistan, where doctors treated and stabilized his injuries in an intensive care unit. His wife Taylor Hargis received notification of his injuries from her husband's commander, and shared Hargis' true valor on her Facebook page with a message.
The message included the photo called the "salute seen around the world." While being presented with a Purple Heart, a very bandaged Hargis still showed the proper respect to his superiors.
Taylor Hargis said the message was "a letter to explain to me what kind of man I have the privilege of being married to."
"Josh was seriously wounded, as you know, and survived for almost two hours after his injury before arriving to the hospital," Taylor Hargis wrote on her Facebook page. "Josh was immediately pushed through a series of surgeries and emerged hours later" to be treated at the ICU in the military base hospital in Afghanistan.
The letter said before Josh Hargis was moved to Germany on his way back to the states, his Purple Heart was presented to him in the hospital. The regimental commander placed the medal on the wounded soldier's blanket, and everyone in the room was moved by the next few moments.
"Josh, whom everybody in the room (over 50 people) assumed to be unconscious, began to move his right arm under the blanket in a diligent effort to salute the Commander as is customary during the ceremonies," the letter to Taylor continues. "Despite his wounds, wrappings, tubes and pain, Josh fought the doctor who was trying to restrain his right arm and rendered the most beautiful salute any person in that room had ever seen."
Taylor was sent a photograph of her husband, heavily bandaged and restrained by tubes and cords, honoring his regimental commander with the Purple Heart visible on the blanket that covered his battered body.
Hargis' commander ended the letter saying that he has the photo hanging on his desk "and will remember it as the single greatest event I have witnessed in my 10 years in the Army."
According to WXIX in Cincinnati, Hargis is expected to return home in the next few days, where he will begin his long road to recovery at a military hospital in San Antonio.
Wednesday, October 16 2013 6:24 AM EDT2013-10-16 10:24:26 GMT
A Tri-State soldier injured in Afghanistan last week has received a Purple Heart for his sacrifice. But, it's a picture of the medal ceremony for Army Ranger Josh Hargis that's spreading across the world,More >>
A Tri-State soldier injured in Afghanistan last week has received a Purple Heart for his sacrifice. But, it's a picture of the medal ceremony for Army Ranger Josh Hargis that's spreading across the world, quickly becoming known as the "salute seen around the world."More >>