FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - A reservist who lost his right arm in a roadside bombing in Iraq re-enlisted in the Army on the same day he received a Bronze Star for his service.
Sgt. Chuck Bartles, 26, raised his prosthetic right arm with his left hand as he took an oath Thursday during a re-enlistment ceremony at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.
Bartles was injured when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb last year. One soldier died and two others were injured in the attack. Bartles' right arm was shattered and had to be removed above the elbow.
"I'm not bitter at all," he said. "I've been in the military my whole adult life, and I really enjoy it."
Amputees are usually given medical discharges, but Bartles twice appealed to officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Satisfied that he could perform his duties, they agreed to let him re-enlist.
Bartles' commander visited him at a hospital in Iraq the day after his amputation and praised his positive attitude.
"He was already talking about learning how to shoot left-handed because he didn't want to miss the deer season," said Lt. Col. James Suriano, commander of the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion.
Bartles, who is studying Russian and Eastern European studies at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, has been in the military reserves for eight years. He began in the Marines but switched to the Army three years ago to pursue language studies.