Let no one ever say Army Spc. Ezra Maes isn’t a hero.
Last year, the 21-year-old soldier was on deployment in Poland when he jolted awake to notice the tank he was in as part of an overnight training exercise was rolling down hill.
As per the Department of Defense, Maes said: “I called out to the driver, ‘Step on the brakes! But he shouted back that it wasn’t him.”
Perseverance and resilience ?@USArmy Spc. Ezra Maes undergoes physical rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. Read his inspiring story of determination and how he plans to keep moving forward: https://t.co/WtjP2B5MV6 #KnowYourMil pic.twitter.com/KJOi4wigsF
— Department of Defense ?? (@DeptofDefense) October 12, 2019
The crew immediately leapt into their emergency brake procedure, but it soon became clear nothing was going to stop the tank, which reached a speed of nearly 90 miles an hour.
“We realized there was nothing else we could do and just held on,” Maes said.
The tank eventually crashed into an embankment, resulting in Maes flying across the machinery and getting his leg caught in a gear.
Yet despite being stuck, the brave soldier had but one thought: the safety of the rest of his crew.
He explained: “I pushed and pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear. I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone.”
.@USArmy Spc. Ezra Maes spent four months in intensive care undergoing near daily surgeries and battling an infection. He’s now assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion and undergoing physical and occupational therapy. https://t.co/Zu59r6y1Zq
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) October 12, 2019
Bleeding heavily, Maes managed to get himself to the back of the tank to grab a tourniquet from the medical kit.
“All I could think about was no one knows we’re down here,” he continued. “Either I step up or we all die.”
Once the tourniquet was in place on his leg, Maes called out to a crew mate and asked him to toss him his phone. He unlocked said phone and sent a text in order to get help.
Maes was later rushed to hospital, before being airlifted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Doctors were unable to save his leg, but Maes, somewhat unsurprisingly, is taking it in his stride.
After an Abrams tank crashed into an embankment, Spc. Ezra Maes noticed his leg was stuck in the turret gear.
He later amputated his own leg and used a belt for a tourniquet to free himself and help two other injured soldiers.https://t.co/lP14A8K3Nz
— ConnectingVets (@ConnectingVets) October 8, 2019
“I feel super lucky,” he said. “My crew all does. So many things could have gone wrong. Besides my leg, we all walked away pretty much unscathed.”
What a brave man you are, Ezra Maes, and a credit to the U.S. Army.
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