“It just felt good to be out of the hospital, finally, after seven weeks, and (it’s) good to be home.”
— Casey Greene, a decorated U.S. Army Ranger specialist and 2007 Moffat County High School graduate
Picture the wounded soldier returning to the place of his youth.
The familiar landmarks — schools, parks, streets — are dusted with snow. Thanksgiving is coming, and holiday lights twinkle in the storefronts.
Maybe he thinks of boyhood games he played here. Maybe he thinks of friends left behind.
He spends the holiday with family, who rejoice that their son, nephew and grandson has come home alive.
These images could easily belong to the realm of Hollywood and black-and-white celluloid film.
But for Casey Greene — a 2007 Moffat County High School graduate and recuperating U.S. Army Ranger specialist — this isn’t fantasy.
This homecoming is real.
“He was thrilled to be home,” his grandmother Marylou Wisdom said.
“He said, ‘A lot of people don’t like Craig, but it sure looks good to me,’” she added, laughing.
Greene returned Friday to Craig after spending nearly two months in hospitals, recovering from injuries he sustained Sept. 24 during his third deployment in Afghanistan.
Greene, a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, suffered two bullet wounds in his torso during an attack in Wardak province. He also has nerve damage and internal injuries, Wisdom said.
He was sent stateside to begin the long recovery process — first at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and later at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.
Wisdom visited her grandson at Army Medical Center and met other young men like him — soldiers who were willing to fulfill their commitment to country, even if it meant giving up their lives, she said.
Greene is now out of the hospital for good. He was discharged recently from Madigan Army Medical Center, he said, and will continue convalescing from home.
“It just felt good to be out of the hospital, finally, after seven weeks,” he said, “and (it’s) good to be home.”
Greene is now a decorated veteran of the Afghan war. He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in his most recent deployment.
But, the place where he spent his boyhood hasn’t changed much, he said.
“I kind of like that,” he said. “To me, the fact that (Craig) hasn’t changed very much is really nice.”
Wisdom said she expects her grandson to make a full recovery with time.
For now, though, she’s grateful for the simple yet profound fact that Greene made it home for the holiday.
“We’re so happy he’s alive and that he’s recovering,” she said.
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