Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Six Questions for Francisco Pinedo

Six Questions for Francisco Pinedo
VA hospital chief of prosthetics

Sam Morris

By Megan McCloskey

Mon, Dec 15, 2008 (2 a.m.)

Francisco Pinedo, chief of prosthetics at the VA hospital, lost part of his right arm in an ambush in Iraq when he was a 25-year-old Army staff sergeant. Now he is in charge of equipping veterans with prostheses such as hearing aids, implants and artificial limbs.

How did you lose your arm?

On one side of the Tigris River in Mosul, the insurgents would fire off mortars. Our job as infantry was to ambush them. The insurgents learned they couldn’t damage our vehicles, so they started going after people poking up from the hatch. One day they placed explosives on a telephone pole at that height, and it got me. I immediately knew I was going to lose my arm. I was conscious the whole time.

Would you still be in the military if it hadn’t happened?

No. There was only a few months left on my contract before I deployed, and I had a job lined up with the San Diego Police Department. I had just gotten married and my wife didn’t want to be a part of the Army life.

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