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Soldier Shot During Ambush Re-enlists While Recovering

By Pfc. Jon Arguello, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, June 6, 2005 – A paratrooper from the 173rd Combat Support Company re-enlisted here recently as he sat in bed with a bullet hole in his left foot.

The combat engineer attached to Task Force Rock was shot in the foot during a patrol with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment.

"We were on a patrol when we heard gunfire," said Spc. Aaron Pace, from Bentonville, Ark. "I dove behind a rock and that's when the bullet hit me." However, even a bullet couldn't deter Pace from re-enlisting.

"I already had my mind made up," he said. "I love being a combat engineer."

Pace is exactly the type of soldier the Army needs, said 1st Sgt. Lauro Obeada.

"He's everything a combat engineer needs to be," Obeada said. "He's tough, determined and smart. Nothing makes me happier than knowing he's decided to stay in our company."

Pace said the bullet didn't affect his decision at all. "I love the job," he explained. "Getting shot at is part of the job, but I still love it."

He was the only casualty on the patrol, and he said he was treated quickly.

"They were telling me, 'You're gonna be OK,' and I said, 'I know, it's my foot,'" Pace said. "To be honest, it felt like a paint ball hitting my foot. I'm not saying I ever want to get shot again, but it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would."

Still, his first sergeant said, it was a stark reminder that soldiering is a dangerous profession. "It really brings it home that we're at war," Obeada said. "It makes it that much more meaningful that he re-enlisted. We need more soldiers like Pace in the Army."

(Army Pfc. Jon Arguello is assigned to Task Force Bronco public affairs.)

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