In 2003, shortly after arriving in Iraq, an anti-tank mine blew off Army Maj. David Rozelle'sright foot and part of his leg below the knee. Now, after three combat tours in Iraq -- two of which came after his injury -- Rozelle is the new commanding officer of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Army ROTC program.
Rozelle's introduction to the Army began as an ROTC cadet at Davidson College in North Carolina, where he graduated in 1995. After his commissioning, Rozelle served in a number of armor and cavalry assignments before 2001, when he received his orders to report to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs for his first day of duty with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
"9/11 is a special day for me; it's the day I reported for duty at Fort Carson," Rozelle said. "A decade later, I've gone to war, had my leg blown off, recovered, went back to war a second and third time, and now have come to the University of Colorado to lead and train some of the best officers in the Army. The last 10 years have been a heck of a ride."
Rozelle started at CU-Boulder in May of this year.
After his 2003 injury, Rozelle was determined not to let the wound define him. He dove into rehabilitation and was fitted with an artificial foot and leg that he wears today. Not only can he walk and run but he also returned to his favorite sport, skiing, just months after his injury. He also returned to Iraq for two additional tours. His recovery has been inspirational not only for the people who served with him in Iraq, but the cadets he trains.
Rozelle wrote about his experiences in a 2005 book, "Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude."