After two successful deployments to Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills expected nothing different this third trip as he kissed his wife and four-month-old baby daughter goodbye. He’d made it back both times without suffering anything close to an injury.
All that changed in April 2012.
During a normal patrol, Travis put his bag down on an IED (improvised explosive device) that exploded on him. The explosion ripped his 6’3 frame from the ground. A nearby medic covered all four of Travis’ limbs with tourniquets so the sergeant wouldn’t bleed to death. The medic’s quick action saved his life but Travis lost all four of his limbs.
Travis is currently a quadruple amputee – “only 1 of 5 servicemen from any military branch to have survived this type of injury during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,” said US Army spokesperson Maria Tolleson.
Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of his situation, Travis simply describes it as “having a bad day at work.” And then goes about the rest of his life. “There’s no reason to sit here and look out the window and feel sorry for myself. It happened. I can’t change the fact it happened.”
Travis competes every day for the ability to return to a semi-normal life, while inspiring others along the way. He trains daily in physical therapy, strengthening his core, hips, chest, and shoulders in temporary prosthetics. His first day walking on the beginner prosthetics was supposed to be only a few steps outside. Travis decided to walk the entire track.
Thousands upon thousands of people have been inspired by Travis’ competitive spirit and story – evidence on by the 20,000+ members of his Facebook support group. On the page, there are videos of Travis walking, spending time with his daughter Chloe, and his rehab. Hundreds of comments flood each post – each encouraging Travis and thanking him for the inspiration he provides them.
Travis was recently moved to an outpatient facility and continues his rehabilitation program. His goal? To stand in uniform in September and salute his unit when they return to Fort Bragg from overseas.
For more information on how to get involved with Travis Mills and his family, visit their fundraising site TravisMills.org.