The sacrifice of the brave souls who serve in the United States military was underscored on Thursday by a tweet from returning Republican lawmaker and combat veteran Brian Mast.
Welcoming fellow combat veterans Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Jim Baird (R-IN) to the House floor, the Florida rep. posted an image of the three men to Twitter with the caption, “5 eyes. 5 arms. 4 legs. All American.”
War injuries from the brave men’s stints serving our nation include one lost eye, one lost arm, and two lost legs.
5 eyes. 5 arms. 4 legs. All American.
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) January 3, 2019
Mast, who’s representing the 18th Congressional District of his state, served in the U.S. Army for 12-plus years. Mast loss both his legs while he was deployed in Afghanistan in 2010 acting as a bomb disposal expert. “The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs,” according to his website.
Mast earned multiple awards for his service, including a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.
Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL now representing Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, lost his eye in an IED explosion during his third deployment in Afghanistan. Crenshaw’s campaign website describes the incident thusly:
On Dan’s third deployment in 2012, his life changed forever. After six months of combat operations, Dan was hit by an IED blast during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was evacuated and awoke from his medically induced coma learning that his right eye had been destroyed in the blast and his left eye was still present, but badly damaged. Dan was completely blind and the doctors did not believe he would ever see again. Tara stood by him every day and night, keeping faith and praying he would see again. After several difficult surgeries, he eventually regained sight in his left eye, a miracle according to the head surgeon.
Crenshaw amazingly served two more deployments following the serious injury. The veteran has racked up two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart among his many recognitions.
The Texas rep. burst into the political mainstream late last year when “Saturday Night Live” regular Pete Davidson mocked Crenshaw’s war injury. Davidson said Crenshaw looked “like a hitman in a porno movie.” The comedian added, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”
Crenshaw’s grace-filled response was applauded by politicos on both sides of the aisle, and Davidson.
Baird, a former 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army now acting as a rep. for Indiana’s 4th Congressional District, served in the Vietnam War from 1970-71. He tragically lost an arm during his tenure. He, too, earned awards for his service, including a Purple Heart.
Responses to the powerful tweet were filled with Democrats and Republicans alike thanking the men for their service and sacrifice:
I may disagree with them politically, but a very cool picture given the service it demonstrates. Lots of firsts in this congress, including the new veterans serving on both sides!
— Andrew McFarland (@ammcfar1) January 3, 2019
The very best of America! pic.twitter.com/gMGzDpjAPy
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) January 4, 2019
Thank you for your continued service gentlemen! A group that truly knows what it takes to keep this country free and great.
— Ronnie Mims (@ronnie_mims) January 4, 2019
Not my party, but bravo, gentlemen! 👏 Thank you for your continued service. May you serve with respect, honor, and integrity. 🇺🇸
— Auntie (@pokes111) January 3, 2019