Wounded Army veteran, motivational speaker and author Sgt. Noah Galloway opened up about his battle to overcome devastating physical injuries sustained on the battlefield in Iraq and the lingering mental health issues that he confronted after returning home.
“I always encourage people to get mental health … we thought that admitting that you needed help was weakness,” he said, “Now I see it as, after going through five years of depression, letting that darkness take over … that’s weakness. It takes real strength to stand up and get help. It took me five years.”
“The whole idea for this show… is the Constitution does not guarantee us happiness. It guarantees us the right to pursue happiness,” said Rich. “It’s what we call the American dream. You know why we call it the American dream? Because it is limitless and we all have a right to it. And it’s secured by our veterans and our active-duty military personnel — period.”
Galloway was first introduced to millions of Americans in 2016 when he competed on the reality TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” A few years before that, he was featured on the cover of “Men’s Health” magazine and dubbed the “Ultimate” guy. But his road to celebrity was anything but glamorous.
Three months into his second tour of duty in Iraq, the Humvee that he was driving was hit by an improvised explosive device.
“I went into Iraq — two deployments — with the mindset that I might die,” Galloway told Rich. “I’m going to either retire an old man in the military or I’m going to die in combat. And I was fine with either one of those options.”
However, he said he was not prepared for a third option.
The force of the IED blast that hit his Humvee threw the 9,000-pound armored vehicle into the air, across a dirt road and into a water-filled canal.
“I don’t remember any of it,” he told Rich. “They said the water was up to my chest. Arm was already taken off. Injuries all over my body.”
Galloway was transported from the battlefield to Baghdad, then to Germany and eventually to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., where we regained consciousness for the first time since the attack. It was Christmas Day.
“I … wake up six days later in a hospital unaware what happened and two of my limbs are gone, injuries to my right leg, my right hand, my jaw was shattered, my mouth was wired shut. I was prepared to die. I wasn’t prepared for the in-between.”
Under heavy sedation, Galloway had to be informed that he was missing his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee.
“When I was told, it, oh, it broke me,” he told Rich. “I would go through one phase of crying like a baby to just angry, yelling at anybody that wanted to help me … it was one emotion after another.”
Galloway said that he fell into a depression that lasted five years.
“To be brutally honest, for about five years I was not the person I am today or who I was before I got injured,” he said.
But then, one day, he explained that he came to a realization that set him on a path to rehabilitation.
“It was actually one day I walked into my living room and my three kids … were sitting on the couch watching TV,” he remembered. “All of a sudden, I realize, to my two boys, I’m showing them what a man is. And that’s what they’re gonna become one day.”
“And to my little girl, I’m showing her how a man is supposed to act and that’s what she’s going to look for one day,” he continued. “And, the man I was, I did not want my boys to be or my daughter to find. So I knew I had to make a change.”
“Now I always tell people life is not a movie. I didn’t just fix it right then. I still make mistakes. But every time I screwed up, and fell flat on my face, it was the thought of my three kids that motivated me to get up and push hard,” Galloway said. “I owe everything to my three kids to who I am today after my injury.”
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