PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Last weekend, 23-year-old Sgt. Shane Stipancic was reminded that there are no days off in a war zone.
“Saturday morning at 6:21 I got a call, and it was Shane,” Stipancic’s mother, Tina DeSalvo said.
Stipancic was calling from a field hospital. Though groggy from medication, the Army wants wounded soldiers to call home if they’re capable, so a worried mom can hear their voice.
“And I said, ‘alright,’” DeSalvo said. “I said, ‘so you’re alive – you’re breathing.’”
Later a lieutenant called her with the details.
Sgt. Stipancic, of the 187th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne “Rakkasans,” was on patrol near Camp Salerno as Afghan soldiers were attacked by insurgents — it was an ambush.
“When the firing started, Shane is a forward observer – he’s the radio guy – he called for help,” DeSalvo said.
Stipancic was shot twice in the back. His platoon leader was severely burned by a grenade.
When medics got to Stipancic, he wanted to know only two things: did the bullets mess up the tattoo on his back? And when could be return to his unit?
Even as a little boy, Stipancic wanted to be a soldier. His grandfather, a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran, gave him and his brother, Cody, pint-sized army uniforms.
At Plum Senior High School he joined R.O.T.C.
After graduation, he asked his mom to sign him up, so that he could be a soldier at 17 years old.
Since then he’s served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But it’s the photo posted on Facebook of Shane in a Bagram Air Force Base hospital bed, that make DeSalvo realize how truly lucky they are.
“Yesterday, when I seen that I lost I,” DeSalvo said. “The only thing that has kept me from going over the edge is that he’s alive.”