Purple Heart veteran explains what Veterans Day means to him

Retired Army Captain Clayton Hinchman lost his leg fighting in Iraq war

MADISON, Ala. - "Serving in direct action combat against Al Qaeda was the greatest thing I think I'll ever do in my life,” said Retired Army Captain Clayton Hinchman.

From 2007 to 2008 Hinchman was assigned to a special operations task force to kill or capture Al Qaeda in Iraq.  

“We knew that we were going after high-value targets that were enemy combatants, that were torturing killing and doing whatever they could to inflict terror upon the people of Iraq,” Hinchman explained.

While conducting a night raid against Al Qaeda operatives, he stepped on a pressure wire IED.

“I lost my leg above the knee, I had a bunch of other scrap metal wounds and I wear hearing aids now, I'm partially deaf and I had about nine or 10 soldiers that were severely wounded,” said Hinchman.

But Hinchman said he's not a hero. “My NCO's and soldiers when a bomb blew at 0:1:32 in the morning, and they turned around and ran to that blast, those are heroes, they saved me they saved 10 other people and then they continued to fight against Al Qaeda.”

Though his physical wounds will always be a reminder of his sacrifice to our country, Hinchman said everyone can serve selflessly.

“I don't view Veterans Day as one day. Veterans Day to me is a call to action for everybody in the community and putting service above self, and what you can give back to this great country.”

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