Military Matters: SFC Joseph Kapacziewski Rangers-on with one le - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Military Matters: SFC Joseph Kapacziewski Rangers-on with one leg

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

General Douglas MacArthur has been quoted saying, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." He obviously never met SFC Joseph Kapacziewski of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Ask any Airborne soldier; jumping out of a plane is not easy. Try doing it with a leg missing!

"The only thing I do a little bit different is [that] I do some preventative maintenance checks on my prosthetic," explains Kapacziewski. He's been doing it this way since he returned to active duty five years ago after losing his leg in Iraq.

"I just make sure that I have a good, working pump, and I have a good seal, and I'm good to go," he says. "I usually land on my fourth point of contact, which is my buttocks, so I don't have to worry about my prosthetic."

Kapacziewski profiled his loss in his recent book called Back in the Fight, and when the Connecticut native says "back", he means it. He is not only back; he now trains soldiers on military technique, something his commanding officer says is awe inspiring. 

"He remains here because of how capable he is as a Sergeant First Class, and a future, more of a future leader here, possibly a future First Sergeant," says MAJ Dan Hurd of the 75th Ranger Regiment. "He does stand in front of students, and they do know his story. If that doesn't motivate them, I don't know what will." 

It has been a long road back, but Kapacziewski has a lot of willpower and drive. He says he got some of that at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. "I had a firecracker of a physical therapist who pushed me really, really hard to get me back in the shape I needed to be in. From the time I left the hospital to the time I deployed was about three months. I did my first rotation as an NCO in a joint operation center," he says.

Two years ago, SFC Kapacziewski became the first enlisted man to receive the "No Greater Sacrifice" Freedom Award in Washington D.C. He has also completed three triathlons, and ran in the New York Marathon on two separate occasions.

"I think he represents exactly what we stand for here, somebody that can persevere," says MAJ Hurd. "He stands in front of students every single day as an example of exactly what it means to be a Ranger."  

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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