Time to talk about my little brother

I’d deliberately put off blogging about this until now because I wanted to make sure I had as many details as possible before getting my readers all worked up.  This has been a very stressful week, both emotionally and physically, for my family and I.  I almost lost my little brother this past Monday night to rocket fire in Afghanistan.

While on guard duty this past Monday night on his forward operating base, FOB Andar, in Afghanistan, Specialist Uriah Horst heard a rocket flying inbound.  Because he’s particularly awesome and not afraid of anything (except snakes and my mom’s parrot, Jake), he quickly moved to where he could see in an attempt to locate the position from where the rocket was fired.  This was when he was struck with shrapnel from a second rocket that landed a short 15 meters (about 49 feet) in front of him.

The next thing Uriah recalls is being on his back and there being a LOT of blood on the floor around him, with some of it coming from his back.  Being the dutiful soldier, he knew he had to call this attack in to headquarters and attempted to move to his radio.  Uriah had some problems though, seeing as how he was seriously wounded with chunks of shrapnel in his arms, torso, abdomen, and legs.  He told us he remembers looking down at his leg when he couldn’t move and realized he was injured.  Despite these injuries, though, Uriah still managed to crawl using his arms to his radio and call in, “I’m hit, I’m hit!” before passing out.

Uriah remembers waking up shortly thereafter being attended to by a combat medic and with one of his battle buddies by his side who was being supportive.  We received information last night that the ONLY reason Uriah is alive today, other than by the grace of God, is because that combat medic happened to be on-site and right near where the attack happened and was able to begin treatment on Uriah immediately.  I am attempting to acquire this medic’s contact information.  We were also told that no one else was so seriously injured (just cuts and scrapes) as to need a medivac like Uriah, for which we are thankful.

Shortly thereafter Uriah was transported to Bath, Afghanistan to a hospital there for surgery where they began removing the pieces of shrapnel from his body.  The largest piece they removed was approximately the size of an 3X5″ INDEX CARD that was sticking out of his abdomen.  Uriah informed us initially that he wasn’t going to have a belly button anymore, but later corrected himself and said he would still have one, it would just look weird.  He has been kept pretty highly medicated and has apparently been cracking up his chain of command with jokes (morphine will do that to you).

Speaking of his chain of command, Rhianne (Uriah’s wife, my sister-in-law) has received many phone calls from Uriah’s company commander (a Captain), as well as a Major (presumably the Battalion executive officer) and the battalion commander (a Lieutenant Colonel).  ALL of them expressed how proud of Uriah they are in the performance of his duties.  They have already awarded Uriah his Purple Heart.  On top of being contacted by the chain of command, Rhianne has also been receiving information calls from the Captain and Lieutenant Colonel’s wives.

On a more serious note, Uriah had to undergo another surgery before he was able to be transported to Germany.  Going in to this surgery, we were informed that Uriah was still in very serious condition and that things could have gone either way.  The good part is, however, that now after this most recent surgery, Uriah is expected to make a FULL RECOVERY!  He was transported to Germany yesterday and will undergo a third (by my count) surgery while there.  Rhianne has been told that they are hoping to have Uriah stable enough to fly again soon, though, and that he’ll be on his way stateside shortly.

Rhianne was informed that the Army is trying to get it authorized for Uriah to be transported to Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, MD, but failing that, he will likely go to Fort Meade, MD, and very likely be in the same Warrior Transition Unit that I was in while stationed there.  This is VERY exciting for us because it’s so close to home.  We, of course, can’t wait for him to get back here.

I want to thank everyone for their ongoing thoughts and prayers for Uriah and our family.  The outpouring of support shown has been humbling, to say the least.  We are very honored to have so many people in our lives that care about Uriah and our soldiers in harm’s way.

For those interested, both the local news and a local paper ran short stories about Uriah in the past couple days.  I’ll link to them below.

The Herald: Soldier from Martinsburg injured in mortar attack in Afghanistan

NBC News: Martinsburg Soldier Injured in Afghanistan

If anyone has any questions that aren’t answered here, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them all.  Thank you again.

EDITED: I just received a call from my mother to inform me that sometime during the night someone placed nine American flags across the front of her yard with notes thanking the Horst Family for their service and sacrifice.  I don’t know who is responsible, but thank you.

EDITED AGAIN: Just got another update.  Uriah has been in Germany now for about half a day and is stable and seems to be doing well.  Want some good news?  He should be headed THIS WAY in the next 1 to 48 hours!!!  My brother is coming home!

EDIT #3: Ok folks, this should be the last edit.  We just received word that Uriah, as of midnight tonight, will be ON HIS WAY HOME!!!  We don’t know for certain where he will be sent once he arrives, but as soon as we know, I’ll put up another blog post.  We should be able to go see him on Saturday, though!

Also, WHAG tv news station just finished an interview with all of us (parents and siblings) and told us it will be edited and aired on their local news station at 5pm today.  The interviewer also said it will likely be rerun a few times and be online soon thereafter, so I’ll hook everybody up after that!  Thank you again for all the support.  EDITED: Here’s the video clip.

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18 Responses

  1. Excellent News!!!!! Ryan, thank you for keeping everyone updated. Your family is in our prayers and we can’t wait to hear that he is home safe. God is soooo good! Have you been able to tell your older brother about all of this? How is he doing with the news?

    • Thanks Kristen. We’ve been keeping Rich and family in the loop during the whole thing. With him still being Army and me being prior Army, we sort of look at this a little differently than most. We are all doing ok, though. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for the updates, Ryan. So good to hear things are going well & he will be home soon. God is Awesome! Still praying for you all!

  3. Ryan, I am so sorry to hear that Uriah has gone thru all of these challenges, but just remember, God did not need another Angel, and that’s why he left Uriah here with his family. I still remember Uriah being a kid while we were growing up together and it’s still hard for me to imagine that he is now an adult. (Maybe we are just getting old 🙂 ) Please give your family a hug for me and take care of yourselves!

  4. You don’t know me but I am a good friend of your cousin Stacy. I am also a former soldier and served with her husband Jeff. Please know that your brother and your family are in my prayers. I am glad to hear that he is on the mend. When you are able to speak directly with your brother please extend my gratitude and respect for his service and sacrifice. God Bless you all.

  5. Quick question I noticed your brother was in the same brigade that I was in at bragg a few years back. What unit is he in?

  6. Great blog, Ryan! Thx for the info … We will certainly be continuing in prayer for Uriah & all the family … Looking forward to what God has in store as Uriah’s testament of His grace & mercy unfolds!

  7. Prayers continue to go out for God’s healing! Excellent to hear he is coming home!!!

  8. Ryan…you don’t have a clue who I am…just ask Amanda and she will fill you in. She told me about Uriah yesterday and that has to be tough! If y’all are as though as Rich your family will be OK….thoughts and prayers to Uriah and your
    entrie family.

    Tom T.

  9. Praying for your brother and your entire family. Thanks to you all for your service.

    Todd and Liz Umstott

  10. God bless you with His healing power and grace. With love, appreciation, and prayers from us at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas.

  11. Praying for a speedy recovery and for him to be home with the family soon!! May God be with you all to give you strength and comfort. Uriah, thank you for your service and all you do for our country!!

  12. Praise God for the good news. I will continue to pray for Uriah and your family. We don’t know each other but I have a son that has been deployed 3 times and as a Mother I can only imagine how you all feel.Give Uriah a hug and a huge thank you for his service to us.

  13. prayers!! Praise God!!

  14. Ryan, this is Alexis, Ashley’s Aunt. Your brother is in my prayers. I am so proud of Uriah and what a great Warrior for the Lord. God’s hands covered him and saved his life. God is good. I have a special place in my heart for the Military especially the Army. My father was a casualty of WWII. We dealt with years of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He died when I was a Senior in high school. …You are all Warriors of the Lord. I am so thankful your brother will be close so your family and Uriah’s wife can be with him. All I can say is Praise the Lord and how wonderful Christ is. He is always with us no matter where or when,
    Alexis

  15. Dear Ryan,
    I admire your strength in all this. Its great that two brothers can stand up to the plate for each other. I am Mike Plant a retired Berkeley County School custodian and know Uriah & Whitney from their Winchester Elementary days where I worked. They were classy then and the same now. I guess their chips from the old block, their older brother. I personnally want to “Thank You”, where through your computer you kept us informed. I will continue to pray for a speedy recovery for Uriah. I know the whole community is supportive in letting the Master Physcian guide the hands for healing Uriah. We have a Great God. And our Faith shall prevail in this difficult time. Again Ryan, THANK YOU !

  16. I knew your brother wile I was in afganistan he quickly became one of my good friends I remember when he got hit me and my friend Papest were devastated but was glad to hear he was doing good

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