Marine Cpl. Gareth Hawkins extended his enlistment to go on a third deployment to Iraq so his battalion would not be left in the hands of rookies.
Twenty days after he arrived in Iraq for the third time, a roadside bomb exploded beneath his 7-ton truck, leaving Hawkins dazed and his heel shattered.
Minutes later, his pain held at bay by morphine, the 23-year-old asked to complete one piece of unfinished business before being rushed via ambulance to undergo surgery at the hospital at the Marine air base in Taqaddum.
He wanted to reenlist for another four-year hitch.
A photographer was nearby and took a picture of the ad hoc ceremony: Hawkins on a stretcher with his right hand in the air as officers administered the reenlistment oath.
Semper Fi, by God!