Athletes & Celebrities

Army Tough: Soldier Finds Strength in the Gym

From losing a leg to deadlifting 405, LT. Derick Carver wouldn't throw in the towel.

Army Tough: Soldier Finds Strength in the Gym

Derick Carver counted the somersaults as he flew through the air. One, two, three...four of them, and then he landed right on his ass. It wasn’t the Hollywood way. Things never slowed down or froze or went black. Carver saw, felt, and heard every detail the day his platoon was ambushed in Afghanistan, eight miles outside Kandahar.

He and the 40 army soldiers he was leading were there to open a school the Taliban had shut down after a village elder had allowed girls to attend.

Refusal To Quit

Shortly after landing, Carver assessed the damage. His trigger finger had been ripped off by the force of the blast. Half of his right thigh was gone, his left leg was lost, and his left elbow was torn up. Rather than tend to his own wounds, he turned the medic away to deal with other soldiers, called in the report by radio, and continued to direct his men to engage.

“A lieutenant can die on the ground, and it’s a little bit of a loss because [he has a lot of training], but it’s nowhere near as because you panicked,” Carver says. “You make sure the mission is completed.”