Freedom Fighters: David Hammonds - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: David Hammonds

(Source: David Hammonds) (Source: David Hammonds)
(Source: KLTV News staff) (Source: KLTV News staff)
(Source: David Hammonds) (Source: David Hammonds)
(Source: KLTV News staff) (Source: KLTV News staff)
(Source: KLTV News staff) (Source: KLTV News staff)
(KLTV) -

David Hammonds graduated from Wills Point High School in 2006. He joined the Army in 2007 and after extensive basic training, was sent to Iraq in 2011.

"When I landed in country, I was told that I was going to one of the roughest areas of the country at the time," he said.

It was a prediction that turned out to be true. As an armored car driver, Hammonds was on the road constantly where the primary danger was hidden IED mines.

"In Iraq, when I got hit the first time, I was driving down the road," he recalls.

Only two miles from camp, Hammonds saw a pothole looming in front of him. He had been told to avoid potholes, because they were often used to hide IEDs.

"You often hear soldiers talk about that sixth sense they get before something happens. Seems like everything went into slow motion at that point and kind of in the back of my mind, something is going to happen, I didn't know what," he said. "And then about that time, I got even with the pothole, and the IED went off."

Hammonds was shaken up, but uninjured. However, his truck showed the effects of the blast.

"I got out of my truck and I looked down and the front end of my truck is gone, just laying over pieces of the road."

Hammonds was to survive another blast from an enemy homemade explosive before departing for Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Hammonds' job was changed to combat engineering, a job that turned out to be no less dangerous than driving in Iraq.

"I was hit twice in Iraq and I was hit three times in Afghanistan," he said.

It was on a route clearance mission that Hammonds luck ran out. When the truck behind him was hit by an IED, Hammonds pulled his truck over to the side to allow the medics to get to the truck that had been hit.

"As I was turning around to make a turn, I got hit. And the IED went off; it was hard to see inside."

While Hammonds showed no injuries, mace concussion tests showed serious effects of the explosion.

"I took what's called the mace test to judge concussions. Been told that the top score's a 30. 30 out of 30, you're fine. I was told I scored a 17," he said.

Hammonds was diagnosed as having a traumatic brain injury, but even with his near-death experiences, it was the death of a close friend that gave him reason to end his Army career.

"I've lost too many friends, seen too many friends get hurt. I didn't want to do this anymore."

David Hammonds is enrolled in a paramedic program at Tyler Jr. College. His experiences in war have inspired him to help people who are in pain.

"If I had a choice, I'd do it again. I have no regrets about serving my country," Hammonds said.

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