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Military inStep - A Publication of the Amputee Coalition in Partnership with the U.S. Army Amputee Patient Care Program. 2005.
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Profile: Army SFC Scott Barkalow
A New Life Ahead

Scott Barkalow knows what it means to sacrifice for his country. While on patrol in Afghanistan on February 19, 2003, his vehicle hit an anti-tank landmine.

Army SFC Scott Barkalow and son“We had gone down that road it seems like hundreds of times, and nothing ever happened,” he says. “But that day it did.” The blow severed his right leg below the knee and broke his left leg in several places, including all of his left toes. He also suffered damage to his face and right eye from shrapnel. After he was pulled from the wreckage, Barkalow was taken to a local hospital for the first of many surgeries. He went through two more surgeries in Germany before ending up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he underwent 12 additional operations.

A veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, Barkalow began his Army career in 1984 after attending college for one year. He spent four years on active duty with the 7th Infantry before joining the National Guard. After completing both Airborne and Ranger schools, he started the Special Forces Qualification Course (or “Q course”) and trained for one year. Upon completing the course, he finished college and joined the 20th Special Forces Group, eventually becoming a Special Forces sergeant. Now, at 41, Barkalow is close to retirement after serving his country for about 20 years, with half spent on active duty and half in the National Guard.

Army SFC Scott Barkalow with family and President George Bush and Laura BushAfter his injury, Barkalow was an inpatient at Walter Reed for more than four months. He was then an outpatient for about five months and lived in the Mologne House, a small, apartmenttype residence, where he learned to move around on crutches and take care of himself. After receiving and learning how to use his prosthesis, he was able to return to his home outside of Nashville, Tennessee, but he still visits Walter Reed periodically for check-ups.

“It’s a day-by-day process, but I never feel sorry for myself,” he says. “Some days are good, and some are bad. It’s all about getting used to the leg, the feeling of it, and being without it sometimes.” The past year has been difficult, he says, but he is getting used to it. “It becomes a little overwhelming because you’re used to being in the hospital, and then you go to outpatient, and then on to your house. It’s an adjustment to just get around, and you still have to work out and keep in shape.”

Army SFC Scott BarkalowFor now, Barkalow’s main focus is raising his 9-year-old son, though he also hopes to get back to work sometime soon. “I’m so close to Fort Campbell,” he says. “I’d love to get a civilian job out there and help out any way that I can – I don’t care if it’s bagging groceries or pumping gas or whatever. Being around other soldiers I think would help me psychologically.”

It helped him when he was at Walter Reed, which, he says, was surprisingly enjoyable. “When you look at a lifechanging experience like losing a limb, you’re not really going to expect the best. But, honestly, I had a fantastic time there.” The experienced staff, including all of the doctors, nurses, physical therapists and psychiatrists, made a big difference and helped him learn to adjust to life without a leg.

Barkalow is also grateful to members of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other amputee service members, including peer visitors who are years out from their initial injury, who came to talk to patients at Walter Reed. “Those people came in and let you know that there’s a different life ahead of you, but it’s not so bad,” he says. “You still have the rest of your life to look forward to.”

— by Julie Wiest

Profile: Senator Daniel Inouye

Senator Daniel InouyeBirthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii.

Age: 80.

Circumstances of Amputation: In the closing months of World War II, Inouye was hit by a bullet, barely missing his spine. He continued to lead his platoon against a machine gun nest, tossing two grenades before his right arm was shattered by a German grenade. He threw his last grenade with his left hand, attacked with a submachine gun and was finally brought down by a bullet in the leg.

Branch of Service: Army.

Highest Rank Achieved: Captain.

Past Achievements:
1941 – One of the first to handle casualties following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
1943 – Enlisted in the famed 442nd“Go For Broke” Regiment of Japanese- Americans that would become the most decorated in Army history.
1959 – Elected to U.S. House of Representatives as Hawaii’s first Congressman and the first Japanese- American to serve in Congress.
1962 – Elected to U.S. Senate.

Current Activities: Serving eighth consecutive term in U.S. Senate.

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross; Bronze Star; Purple Heart with clusters; Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor.

Quote: “Our land has the most diverse populace in the world, and as such, we acknowledge that we have social and ethnic problems. But we are doing our best to prove that diversity is a strength and not an obstacle to progress.” - Senator Daniel Inouye



Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Amputee Coalition, the Department of the Army, the Army Medical Department, or any other agency of the US Government.

Back to Top Last updated: 12/07/2014
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