BAGHDAD, June 25, 2007 -
Army Sgt. 1st Class Adin Salkanovic won't spend a full 15 months in Iraq like the rest of the soldiers in his unit. Still, he knows all too well about the sacrifices of war.
The platoon sergeant with 1st Cavalry Division's Troop B, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, volunteered to rejoin his unit in Iraq after recovering from multiple gunshot wounds suffered in Buhriz, Iraq, March 6.
Salkanovic, 27, was leading a dismounted, eight-man reconnaissance team when 15 to 20 insurgents wielding grenades, sniper rifles and AK-47s started attacking from three different directions.
Pinned down on the roof of a building, Salkanovic and his squad returned fire. In a span of 15 minutes, Salkanovic was struck by three enemy bullets: one to his left index finger and shoulder and one apiece to his right shoulder and bicep. Two more enemy rounds nearly struck Salkanovic, but were stopped by his body armor - "the two that would have killed me," he called them.
Salkanovic's team managed to fend off the attack, eventually killing two insurgents. If not for the actions of one of his soldiers, Cpl. Cory Walter, Salkanovic is sure he would have died that day, he said.
"Corporal Walter is pretty much responsible for me being alive right now."
Salkanovic, whose wounds caused him to lose two liters of blood, was evacuated to Germany and later moved to Fort Hood, Texas, to recover. After two months of healing and rehabilitation, he was ready to head back to Iraq. He rejoined his unit, which is based at Forward Operating Base Normandy, May 15.
"As soon as (my doctor) cleared me to come back, I was on the first flight out," said Salkanovic, a native of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Although returning to Iraq was entirely his choice, Salkanovic said, the decision was not up for debate. Rejoining his unit was his goal from the start.
"It's like a family - especially being a platoon sergeant. You get attached to the soldiers," he said.
(Photo and Story by Army Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour, who is assigned to Multinational Corps Iraq Public Affairs.)