Soldier Recovers With Family at His Side

Morgan Hill's Jim Tarp, left, unfolds his father's flag as David

Morgan Hill
– A seriously injured soldier from Morgan Hill is recovering
from surgery at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington after
being hit by a roadside bomb last week.
Morgan Hill – A seriously injured soldier from Morgan Hill is recovering from surgery at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington after being hit by a roadside bomb last week.

David Shebib, 22, was on patrol south of Baghdad Thursday afternoon, Dec. 28, when the blast was detonated.

Family members – who support the troops, but not the war – say Shebib sustained serious shrapnel injuries to his arm and lower face, as well as a severed artery that caused a mild stroke, a broken right arm and a broken collar bone.

“He just came out of surgery to remove a tooth from his lung,” said the family’s father, George Shebib, a Vietnam War veteran of Lebanese descent and American Legion commander in Morgan Hill. “He is still in intensive care and has yet to regain full conscious.”

The family flew to Washington Monday.

“He’s banged up,” said David’s 25-year-old brother Tony Shebib in a telephone interview from Washington D.C. “It’s hard to be in the room with him. It’s pretty graphic. He’s always been a fighter, and we know he can win this fight.”

Shebib graduated from Central Continuation High School in 2002 and volunteered for the Army in September 2004. He was trained as a paratrooper and a medic. His father and brother said he wanted to learn skills to become a firefighter.

“He was gung ho” about serving his country, said the senior Shebib. “His job is to help people.”

On Monday the family arrived in Washington to comfort the wounded soldier.

“My wife and I take turns crying,” George Shebib said.

Despite the family’s pain, doctors have reassured them their son will recover from his injuries. However, he may suffer partial blindness in his right eye from shrapnel wounds that covered 80 percent of his face below the nose.

While details have not been confirmed by the Army, George Shebib said his son was on foot when the bomb exploded.

“They had just gotten out of their vehicle,” the father said. “They think a cell phone was used to detonate an (improvised explosive device).”

His father said a medical helicopter arrived within 15 minutes to evacuate his son to an Iraqi hospital. From there, he was transferred to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest American military hospital outside the United States.

Shebib described his brother as a fun-loving and adventurous young man.

An example of his outgoing nature was a three-day, 1,700-mile motorcycle trip to the Arctic Circle last summer from Anchorage, Alaska.

“He was wild, loud, aggressive and funny,” Tony Shebib said.

The decision to join the U.S. Army was supported by the Shebib family, even though the father and brother have mixed feelings about the Iraq war as it drags on with no clear resolution in sight. So far, more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 20,000 have been wounded in Iraq. Additionally, more than 650,000 Iraqi casualties have been estimated.

“My feeling is, we shouldn’t be fighting a ground war at all,” Tony Shebib said. “You can’t distinguish good from bad.”

His father feels the same way.

“In my books, it’s ‘Vietnam II’ ” the veteran said. “I just wanted him to do what he wanted to do. But two years ago I was led to believe this conflict would end suddenly.”

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