by Jeremy Wiggins

Let me tell you a short story.  Colton Read is a 20 year old male who has made the decision to serve and fight in the greatest Air Force on the planet. But now Colton Read is fighting a different kind of battle, the one to keep his career as an Airman. The story is from Fox News.

Colton Read went in for gallbladder surgery at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and instead of coming out stable, he is barely coming out alive. The "doctor performing laparoscopic surgery accidentally severed the aortic artery that delivers blood to the lower portion of the body." Colton had to then have both of his legs amputated.

This kid is braver than most adults I know. When he came out of surgery the one thing that he wanted to know was whether or not his future in the Air Force is secure or not. This is the kind of person I personally want in the military in my defense. This kid isn't concerned about being able to walk again, he wants to know if he can serve again.  According to a statement from Major General Bradley Heithold, “I've been told...that's all Colton wants to do."

I hate to say this, but Colton Read's position in the Air Force is most likely not going to be what he wants. The military looks at it like this: You must be able to fight and win. Simple - right? In order to fight and win you have to be able to fight wherever the military needs you to fight. Right now the military is fighting in some of the toughest terrain on the planet, and it is difficult work for people who are not disabled. I have known individuals with less serious disabilities that have been separated from service. But now here comes the difficult part. The fact is, Colton isn't able to walk due to the doctor's mistake.

I'm pretty sure that a military surgeon is not liable for a malpractice suit, so the family will probably have to go after the government, and I hope they get all they can so that Colton will be secure for the rest of his life, and I'm not talking about regular disability pay. He should get twice that, one for each leg that he lost. He sacrificed of himself, now I think it is only fair that he be compensated for his loss. Our hearts and prayers should all be with Colton, the entire Read family, and every one of our soldiers, sailors, marines, cost guardsman, police officers, and fire fighters. Each one of them keeps us safe and sound day after day, night after night.

jwiggins@afr.net