Wounded Warriors Returning from the Abyss

Dawn Halfaker graduated from West Point as a 1st lieutenant and led a platoon in Iraq in 2004. A few weeks into her deployment, her platoon was ambushed, she was hit and when she woke up in the hospital days later, her right arm was gone.

With her military career over, she decided to help fellow wounded veterans. The Huffington Post interviewed Halfaker, and asked, “What happened on the day you got wounded?”

Halfaker replied, “It was a routine, 3-hour patrol mission looking for enemy activity on a relatively quiet night until, after about two and a half hours, we drove right into an ambush. I was in the first vehicle of the convoy, and one of the rocket-propelled grenades hit me and one of my squad leaders, severely injuring both of us.”

She launched Halfaker and Associates, and today it is an award winning professional services and technology solutions firm. She also is involved as the president of the Wounded Warrior Project that has a vision “to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”

Serving her country, she lost an arm and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal along with a Purple Heart for her wounds in combat. But her success since that fateful day doesn’t mean she doesn’t have days where she doesn’t hate her life. In 2005, in a New York Times interview, she said, “Some days when I’m holding a cup of coffee, my ID, carrying a bag, trying to open the door at work, I spill coffee on myself. Those are the days I say, ‘I hate my life.’ I cry and think, Why do I have to be this way?”

But no matter how she feels on down days, she always rebounds and wonders how her life turned out so great.

If we learn anything from this retired Army captain, it is that there is no excuse to give up on life.

Why is it that some combat veterans become homeless alcoholics and drug users stricken with severe PTSD and others—for example Halfaker—end up becoming the successful CEO of her own business with 150 employees and a positive role model for the rest of us?

Discover A Prisoner of War for Life


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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