By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
When things get rough, Spc. Phillip B. Gleason thinks about his daughter, Hailey Brianne. She’s the one he thought about after he was injured in Iraq on Oct. 21, 2006.
When he and another soldier were awarded Purple Hearts during a ceremony at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center on Friday, she was the one he thanked.
Gleason goes home to South Carolina on leave this week, just in time for Hailey’s third birthday. It’ll be the first birthday he has got to spend with her and he’s taking a box full of toys.
Gleason and Cpl. Timothy J. Euting, both former 4th Infantry Division soldiers, are now part of Fort Hood’s Warriors in Transition unit.
Euting, a cavalry scout, was on a combat patrol with Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment on June 6, 2006, when he encountered a homemade bomb. Eight hours later, he was hit by another, which resulted in injuries that sent him back to Fort Hood.
Gleason was assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment when he was injured on Oct. 31, 2006, when the Bradley fighting vehicle he was in was hit by a roadside bomb.
Both soldiers are 22 years old and are in the medical board process.
Gleason hopes to be out of the Army by the summer so he can go to nursing school. A former infantryman, Gleason has spent time working in Darnall’s emergency room and sees nursing as a way to give back and help.
He has also relied on his mother, Gwen Bittle, for support after he was injured. She was the first person he called once his Bradley was hit. He wasn’t even done getting fixed, he said.
When Gleason gets down about missing his daughter, “mom acts as my strength,” he said.
The key in Euting’s recovery has been his wife, Nicole.
“I can’t express how important my wife has been to me in the last one-and-a-half to two years,” he said.
The two met more than three years ago while going to church in Belton.
He can’t decide whether he and his soldiers were really lucky or really unlucky, he said with a smile on Friday. They were hit with homemade bombs several times, but only sustained injuries in the final blast.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7547