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Healing Our Heroes

We honor a veteran who went to war in Afghanistan. Technical sergeant Tim Juliano was the victim of a rocket attack. Eyewitness News reporter Laurie Monteforte has his story... In her special report "Healing Our Heroes." We warn you, it includes some photos of medical procedures.
Tonawanda, New York – A pair of dog tags hangs on the door frame. A pressed Air Force jacket looks ready to wear. But the military man who wore those will never go back to war. "I would go back right now. I actually want to go back but I can't,” said Technical Sergeant Tim Juliano.
Air Force Commanders told Juliano he isn’t fit to fight. A rocket attack wrecked his body and brain. "When I woke up in Walter Reid I was surprised I woke up,” he said.
Juliano’s story started on September 11th, 2001, two weeks after he was honorably discharged from the Army Reserves. He was working a maintenance job in upstate New York. When he turned on the news that day, he knew he wanted to get back in uniform. He recalled, "Secretly I kind of joined the Air Force and went back in."
The Air Force assigned him to train people on how to drive convoys. For the first three years he worked on a Las Vegas base. Then he spent about four months in Germany. He smiled, "These were great tours. They were comfortable; you know nothing bad going on. They were pretty nice places to visit."
That changed in 2007. Juliano volunteered to go to Iraq so an air man with a family emergency could go home. He said, "I didn't know what to expect, but I wasn't scared."
Juliano served on an Air Force base near the Baghdad Airport in Iraq. Iraq’s often fired missiles toward the base. He recalled, "We always said, ‘oh they'll never hit us 'cause they're bad shots.’"
Two months into his tour, Juliano stepped outside to talk with a friend who was concerned about switching to night shift. He recalled, “I was telling him nights wasn't too bad, you know a little boring because there was less going on."
That night was far from boring. "We were just out there talking and the next thing we knew there was smoke, we were burning, we were blood gushing all over,” said Juliano.
Juliano went in and out of consciousness. Blood and smoke blinded him. He remembers a man trying to help. "He said, 'Have you ever seen so much blood?'"
The rocket impact threw him to the ground. Bones popped through his elbow. Shrapnel blew a hole in his leg and tore his face apart. He remembered, "I did tell the guy that I'm gonna pass out. He goes, 'hold on, hold on' and that's my last words. I'm gonna pass out."
Doctors woke woke Juliano in an Iraqi hospital just long enough to get his Purple Heart medal. "'Cause they thought I was going to die."
But he pulled through.
Tune in to Eyewitness News at eleven Tuesday night to learn how he did it and how a doctor from East Stroudsburg, Monroe County helped him. "We're doing everything we can to try to rebuild their lives and rebuild their faces in this case,” said Doctor Charles Herman of Pocono Medical Center.


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