by: Mary Simms
(KHNL) - Given a choice, most would choose Hawaii over Iraq. Not 1st Lt. Charles Gatlin.
"It's tough. I had a very unique job there and a platoon of what I would consider hand selected men. "I really miss a lot of them."
Gatlin deployed to Iraq this past August with the 25th Infantry Division.
"In the course of patrolling, I was wounded by a vehicular borne improvised explosive device. A car bomb. I was wounded."
With his unit still in Iraq, facing dangers on a daily basis, Gatlin says some days are hard, but days like today make it a little easier.
"It's really tough being in one and mission with your guys, and coming back to this. But it kinda makes up for it-- at least for the 3 days. There's a lot of innocence. Soldiers get a piece of that and can forget what problems they are going through."
He's back home now but things that used to come easy don't.
"I can't drive anymore. The doctors say anywhere from 3 to 9 months is the usual recovery time. I still have bad, bad headaches. I still have issues thinking and speaking."
He's working to get better.
"I would like to be there. I think the hardest part is understanding. It took a while for me to understand the fact that I'm not 100 percent, and to be able to step back into that role might not happen."
If he can recover, he wants to go back.