Special forces hero describe moment leg was shot to pieces while saving comrade

A heroic special forces soldier had to undergo 30 surgeries and lost his leg in an act of bravery after selflessly diving in front of his comrade who was getting shot with a machine gun.

Nick Lavery, 39, is a Green Beret – the US equivalent of the SAS – who in 2013 became an amputee after getting shot while on tour in Afghanistan.

He decided to enlist in the US army right after 9/11, while he was still at university.

Over a decade later, during his second combat rotation in Afghanistan, his life would change forever when he would get shot a number of times in his right leg.

Speaking on The Hive's Veteran Stories series on YouTube, the 39-year-old said: "Throughout this deployment we were working with the conventional Afghan national army and we were getting ready to do a joint mission.

"As we were getting ready to end the mission brief, I had began walking towards my truck. As I'm walking away, I hear rounds being fired off directly behind me and realise someone was decisively engaging us.

"I snap my head around, I hone in on the shooter and realise it was someone who I had been training and working alongside of.

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"He had mounted a PKM, a Russian machine gun, and began shooting at the group.

"This was the initiation of a complex ambush, we also began receiving fire from outside of our camp as well – this was a coordinated attack."

He explains how his training had taught him to move to cover and eliminate the threat, which he had rehearsed "hundreds and hundreds of times", but decided not to do that.

He added: "The reason I didn't do that is because one of our infantry soldiers that was there with us, young kid, first deployment, was no more than 15-20ft in front of the shooter and he was basically frozen like a deer in headlights.

"I recognised that and decided to put my body between him and the shooter and that was when I was hit the first time. I fell on top of him and as I'm laying on the ground, I feel myself get hit another time or two, into my right leg.

"I dragged him and myself to some cover… I rip my pant leg open and my leg is just bone, tissue and flesh and a lot of blood.

"I applied a tourniquet… the bleeding doesn't stop. I grabbed a second tourniquet, slapped that on.

"One of my teammates got to me and the look on his face pretty much said it all. He broke out another tourniquet and slapped that on. As he's applying it on me, I'm telling him to get away from me and go work on somebody else.

"I was convinced that I was going to die and I was relatively content with that. If I was going down, then alongside my boys is where I wanted to be, I was okay with that.

"As I laid there with three tourniquets on my leg, bleeding out, I thought, 'have I done everything I can do?'.

"So I pulled open my first aid kit, I grabbed some gauze, balled it up and I wedged it up into my leg. Now I'm rubbing my hand by broken bone and this searing pain is launching through my body and trying to eject through my eyeballs."

At some point Nick went unconscious and when he came to he was being loaded onto a helicopter, which transported him to the hospital in Bagram.

He continued: "They hacked off my leg, trying to minimise the amount of damage my body was trying to recover from."

It took the doctors about six days to stabilise his body enough to transfer him to a hospital in the US where he underwent around 30 surgeries until they managed to get a hold of the infection.

He said: "I managed to survive. I accepted the fact that I was an amputee pretty easily."

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