Local News

Injured veteran gains closure from bin Laden's demise

Posted May 2, 2011 10:06 p.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2011 11:15 p.m. EDT

— The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq changed Wilmington native Joey Bozik irreversibly. Physically, the triple amputee will never do many of the things he loved to do as a young Army sergeant, but emotionally, he tries to stay positive and focused.

"What is my other choice? I could sit at home and feel sorry for myself, or I could go out and try to live the rest of my life the best way I can," Bozik said.

In October 2004, Bozik's vehicle rolled over an improvised explosive device in Iraq while he was protecting his commanding general. His injuries sent him home.

He had previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and came home discouraged that bin Laden remained at large.

"When you come home and say, 'Oh, we still haven't got him yet,' there's still that underlying frustration that is there," he said.

Bozik was part of a security detail at the Pentagon in 2001, one week before a hijacked plane plowed through it on September 11, killing 184 people. He said he was surprised to hear about bin Laden's death, but gained closure from the news.

"I guess I kind of thought it was one of those things where he was just going to go away on his own, disappear or die," Bozik said. 

"To hear that the manhunt was still on, and that they never gave up, and that they were still looking for him and finally got him was a pleasant surprise," he added.

Bozik's life has changed dramatically since he lost three limbs seven years ago, but he sees a bright future ahead.

"I always tell people that this is the best and worst thing that's even happened to me because serving in the military has given me so much and it's also taken a lot from me at the same time," he said.

Bozik, 32, is pursuing a criminal psychology degree at Central Carolina Community College while he looks for work.