"Nobody wants to go to war, but my unit is still there, so I gotta see them again. They need my help."
Soldier from Hawaii wounded in Iraq in mid-September
Isle soldier shot in Iraq wants to return
The Pearl City grad was badly injured in a Mosul ambush
Army Pfc. Douglas Dalton, wounded in his leg and stomach in an ambush in Iraq in mid-September, is ready to go back.
Douglas Dalton: The Alaska-based soldier aims to rejoin his 1st Infantry cohorts
"Nobody wants to go to war, but my unit is still there, so I gotta see them again," Dalton, who returned home Oct. 7, said. "They need my help."
He is scheduled to return to Alaska on Nov. 6. From there he hopes to rejoin his unit in Iraq.
A shot in Mosul hit Dalton in the leg and ricocheted into his stomach. Two other soldiers in his squad were also injured in the ambush. His injuries sent Dalton, 21, to the hospital for surgery and 30 days of convalescent leave back home in Pearl City.
Dalton is a squad automatic weapon gunner for A Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
On the day of the ambush during the second month of deployment, Dalton was on routine patrol with his platoon.
His squad members were at the front and the only soldiers on foot. Four soldiers were on each side of their assigned Stryker.
The other squads were riding inside their armored vehicles. Dalton said the patrols require soldiers to meet and greet the people and that not all scouting duties can be done from inside a vehicle.
The patrol stopped as it approached a roundabout surrounded by three- and four-story buildings.
"There was a debate whether to cross it or to pick us up," Dalton said.
After a discussion between the platoon leader and platoon sergeant, the patrol continued. Dalton said he had taken just three steps when they were hit with a flurry of bullets.
"It went by so quickly. I just tried to find cover. Nobody retreated. It made no sense. We were just trying to find cover," Dalton said.
He said he fainted after he was hit, but regained consciousness before fellow soldiers carried him into a Stryker.
Dalton had surgery in Mosul and then was sent back to Alaska. He said his wound has closed and he is eating regularly, but he still has pain in his leg and worries there might be nerve damage.
The experience has not dampened the 2003 Pearl City High graduate's enthusiasm for his chosen career. He has been in the Army for less than a year, and he hopes to re-enlist at the end of his three-year active-duty commitment.