Sweet Home New Mexico: Hero’s tale inspiring

Courtesy photo Staff Sgt. Johnnie O. Yellock

In July 2011, five days after being promoted to the rank of staff sergeant, and 10 days into his second combat deployment, Air Force Combat Controller Johnnie O. Yellock II’s vehicle rolled over an IED in the Paktika province in Afghanistan. Yellock was standing in the vehicle at the time of impact, and his feet and ankles took the brunt of the blast. It literally shattered his legs all the way up to his knees. Amazingly, Yellock never lost consciousness. Immediately after the impact, he was able to find his weapon, relay information to his team leader, and prep himself for the medic to begin treatment.

The original prognosis for Yellock was grim. He was taken to Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan where he underwent the first of eighteen surgeries. Through the miracle and blessing of modern medicine and dedicated military surgeons, Yellock’s legs were saved through a limb salvage process. He uses a wheel chair 90 percent of the time, and crutches the other 10 percent of the time. He says, and I totally believe, he will walk and run again one day with the assistance of adaptive braces on both legs. No way will the enemy win this one.

I am inspired by stories about special operations heroes; so inspired by those who run straight into the face of danger for love of country and love of others. They accept hard consequences. They are selfless, loyal and humble. They have something special inside them which allow them to push aside the natural inclination to be safe with little risk to their lives, and instead do a hard job not many want to do or are qualified to do. Yellock may have been slowed down, but he has not been shut down. In this case, it’s indomitable spirit of America: 1, bad guys: 0. I love this picture of him standing on what were once his shattered legs. It is a portrait of total triumph. God Bless America and those that serve Her!

Jeni Ennis is an Air Force wife and a mama to three blue-eyed beauties. Contact her at: jeni.ennis@hotmail.com