Buffalo Army Specialist Survives Horrendous Explosion In Afghanistan

10:04 AM, Jul 28, 2012   |    comments
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  • Army Specialist Stephen Wagner
  • Army Specialist Stephen Wagner

BUFFALO, NY-- This was Army Specialist Stephen Wagner's third tour of duty in the Middle East, by far the worst.

"This time I was petrified, this time I was petrified every day," said his sister Libby Gaymon of Buffalo.

Scott Brown: "When you talked to him what would he tell you?"

Libby Gaymon: "He would call me and say 'Libby I have to point my gun at little boys,' he said there was a lady in a black wrap with a baby holding a gun. He said you can't trust anybody."

One week ago, Stephen Wagner's worst fears became reality: the Humvee he was riding in was blown up by an I.E.D.

Stephen's girlfriend called his sister Libby with the devastating news.

Libby Gaymon: "I'll never forget. It was 1:13 in the morning, I picked up the phone and she said the captain just left the house and I said please don't tell me my brother's dead, please don't tell me my brother's dead and that's all I kept saying."

Stephen suffered a number of broken bones and a shattered leg in the explosion, but the hands of fate were with him - he was sitting in the backseat of the Humvee and survived the explosion.

Two of his closest friends who were in the front of the Humvee did not.

Stephen learned of their deaths and now his sisters worry that in addition to his injuries, he'll have to overcome 'survivor's guilt' and the horror of what he's seen while serving.

Libby Gaymon: "I know my brother's heart and his mind and that's what I cry for, his heart and his mind because he's seen some things, we wouldn't...he's having nightmares, he needs medication just to go to sleep because he's waking up screaming, I don't want that for my baby brother."

On Monday, Stephen was transferred from a hospital in Germany to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.

His family will stagger their trips to Washington so that someone will be with him at all times.

His sister Joy will be going there this weekend.

Scott Brown: "When you get the chance to see him, what's the first thing you're going to say to him?"

"I love you," said his sister Joy Cruz breaking into tears.

Stephen underwent extensive surgery Wednesday and doctors were able to save his leg.

"We're blessed, we're truly blessed that my brother's injuries are what they are- he's alive," said his sister Libby.

"We're ready to help him, we just don't want America to forget his sacrifices."

If you would like to send Army Specialist Stephen Wagner get well wishes and/or thanks for his service, you can send an email by clicking here.  We will make sure he gets them.

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