Local News

Injured Fort Bragg Soldier to Get Homecoming in Nebraska

Posted September 13, 2007
Updated September 14, 2007

— A grateful community is helping an injured Fort Bragg soldier go home for the first time in more than two years.

Army Specialist Matt O'Brien, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, said he has not visited his family in his home state in Nebraska since he was deployed to Iraq in 2004.

During a later deployment in Afghanistan, he suffered an eye injury that keeps him at Fort Bragg for treatment.

"I woke up one morning, and I just noticed my right eye wasn't right," O'Brien said. "And I couldn't read anything at all."

O'Brien lost sight in his right eye and has only partial vision in his left eye. He is being treated at Fort Bragg, but said the doctors still don't know what caused the loss of vision or if it can be repaired.

While recovering, O'Brien got tickets to see his favorite team, Nebraska, play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem last Saturday. At the game, he was interviewed by ESPN.com.

A radio station in his home state in Nebraska picked up the story, and the community rallied, raising money to bring O'Brien home. He'll be there to watch Nebraska take on the University of Southern California.

O'Brien, though, said he's looking forward to more than the big game.

"I haven't seen my mom in at least two years. I haven't seen some of my brothers in a longer time," he said.

Thoughts of those family members that kept him going during his tours in first Iraq, and then Afghanistan, O'Brien said.

"It can be crazy at times. It was unpredictable, was the biggest thing I could explain," he said. "You never knew what was going to happen."

O'Brien said that for now, he knows for certain he'll be having an emotional trip home.


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  • headlong Sep 14, 2007

    Safe Travels!!! Enjoy your time!!! You served us now time we serve you!!!


  • 3potato4 Sep 14, 2007

    Awesome story. Best wishes to this young man for a great trip and a full recovery. What a cutie, looks like Ritchie Cunningham.

  • 2alegal Sep 14, 2007

    Prayers that you have a safe and fullfilling trip home. Thanks for the good job you have done for us.

  • Sessy - Italiana Sep 14, 2007

    Glad to see he is getting the chance to go home.

  • tiredofgovtwaste Sep 14, 2007

    What an unfortnuate deal this young man has facing him. Like so many others to most he is just a number. I wish him the best and a safe trip home to visit the family. Family is important and whether we want to admit it or not, we are all family in God's sight and need to treat each other with tender hands and lots of love.

  • mrtwinturbo Sep 14, 2007

    I hope it is not Glaucoma it can steal sight without warning or symptoms. Have an uncle with glaucoma and he is having a hard time with it, Sorry about the last post I was in a strange mood.

  • mrtwinturbo Sep 14, 2007

    Well they said that if did not stop that you would go blind.....

    Oh sorry Specialist O'Brien....had to be said
    Hope you get better!