Top Army Brass Visits Columbus, Extraordinary Officer - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Top Army Brass Visits Columbus, Extraordinary Officer

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Every three weeks, Fort Benning graduates between 150 and 160 Lieutenants from Officer Candidate School.

While all of the graduates are heroes, today, one particular graduate's story of valor and overwhelming odds stood out.

 

 

Lieutenant Peter Sprenger has been making sacrifices since 2001.

He left college in California to enlist in the army after 9/11.

Two years later, then Specialist Sprenger's unit was hit by an IED in Iraq.

He lost his right eye, among other injuries.

"The first thing you think after you get injured is, "What next?" or, "What are you going to plan from there?" and the traditional answer is you go and do paperwork or take a desk job, where you're still serving, but in a limited capacity," Lieutenant Sprenger said.

But there is nothing limited about Peter Sprenger.

He did not take that desk job.

He went to Ranger School.

That's where we first met Sprenger in July of 2005.

He was one of the first soldiers to sustain an injury that serious and become a ranger.

It was one of my first stories at WTVM.

Today, nearly four and a half years later, Lieutenant Sprenger again defied the odds and completed Officer Candidate School.

"He was the most seriously wounded in that particular attack on his forward operating base and I've tracked his progress ever since," General David Patraeus said.

General David Patraeus, U.S. Central forces commander, was in Columbus today as the distinguished guest speaker at OCS graduation.

And despite a message for all 152 graduates, General Patraeus was here mainly for one reason.

To pin the bar on Sprenger, a soldier Patraeus calls a role model.

"He is not one of those who has ever been proud to be merely average. He has always sought to go farther, go faster, and do one more pushup," General Patraeus said.

"I really don't mind being a role model, or the media things, because I think it's important to show the good side of what we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, the soldiers that are willing to serve and sacrifice more," Lieutenant Sprenger said.

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