During our lifetime we hear of people who do deeds so daring and noble that they don’t deserve anything less than to be hailed heroes. Army Spc. Ezra Maes is one of them. This young man’s bravery touched the hearts of many and what he did for his crewmates became a symbol of compassion and sacrifice.
It was back in 2018 when Maes served in Poland along with some of his friends. During an overnight training exercise, the tank in which he and his fellow mates stayed suddenly started rolling down the hill.
Maes was convinced it was part of the exercise or maybe some sort of prank and yelled to the driver to step on the brakes. But when the driver replied that it wasn’t him, Maes realized they were all in big trouble.
The tank was moving with 90 miles and hour and stopping it was impossible.
“We realized there was nothing else we could do and just held on,” Maes said about the accident.
After a number of sharp bumps, the tank crashed into an embankment. Maes flew across the machinery and his leg got caught in the turret gear.
Initially, he believed his leg was just broken and seeing his friends being severely injured with one breaking his back and another one bleeding profusely from a deep cut on her thigh, Maes started twisting and turning his leg desperately trying to release himself so he could offer them help. In the next moment, he was free, but he lost his leg.
He explained: “I pushed and pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear. I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone.”
Despite losing a lot of blood that was pouring from his leg heavily, this brave soldier managed to get to the medical kit and grab a tourniquet.
He couldn’t think of the pain or the leg he lost as the lives of the fellow soldiers rested on his shoulders.
“All I could think about was no one knows we’re down here,” he continued. “Either I step up or we all die.”
Luckily, one of the phones was still working and Maes was able to call for help that soon came to the place of the accident.
Maes was quickly rushed to the nearest hospital and later transferred to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
“I feel super lucky,” he said. “My crew all does. So many things could have gone wrong. Besides my leg, we all walked away pretty much unscathed.”
Sgt. Maes is an exceptional person who sacrificed losing a part of his body for the sake of his fellow soldiers’ lives. He deserves the whole country’s deepest respect!