Injured Gardnerville soldier worried about military career
Appeal Staff Writer
With 20 surgeries to save his foot and at least one more on the way, Pfc. Daniel Tingle’s focus is on rehabilitation and therapy.
Yet one of the concerns he has is his future in the military.
He wants to continue to serve his country, but the U.S. Army may disagree.
With almost two years left on his tour, Tingle may be discharged early for medical reasons.
“He’s trying very hard to stay in. He doesn’t want to get out,” said Tina Luce, Tingle’s mom. “He really loves the Army. He loves that life and feels very much akin to the troops.”
Tingle suffered severe damage to his left foot during a mortar attack on Jan. 6. To repair it, doctors took part of his hip bone and fused it to the bone in his foot. They also took skin from the side of his foot and skin from his calf to help replace lost tissue.
“The bone is fusing really pretty well,” said Luce, who is a nurse. “So aside from a pretty gnarly looking scar, the foot looks pretty good. It was just incredible that they were able to save his foot at all.”
Tingle was hospitalized at Brooke Army Medical Center, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for a short time but was allowed to return to his home base of Fort Carson, Colo., to continue therapy.
More than 400 people turned out at a welcome home party for the 2004 Douglas High School Graduate at Sharkey’s Casino in Gardnerville in March. He was also scheduled to ride on a float during Carson Valley Days, but there was a last minute change of plans.
“He was supposed to ride, but he got out his grandfather’s cane and walked instead,” Luce said. “He had the boot to help, but he’s still got a lot of hardware in his foot.”
Tingle’s grandfather, Bill Lepore, of Minden, was a U.S. Navy Veteran from World War II.
Although therapy is going well, Tingle is scheduled to have at least one more surgery because of recent pain in his foot. Doctors believe that one of the pins in his leg has shifted, putting undo pressure on the area that is healing.
Despite the surgeries and traveling between Texas and Colorado, Luce said, Tingle remains positive and continues to work to return to his unit.
“He stays pretty upbeat. He has his ups and downs, but he’s doing well,” Luce said. “He’s still getting over nightmares from the things he has seen, and he can’t handle a lot of surprising loud noises, but he’s always had a really good attitude.”
If he is allowed to remain in the Army, Tingle will need to make changes.
“He will have to change his (military occupational specialty). He can’t be infantry anymore, and that still bothers him,” Luce said.
Luce said that her family wanted to thank the community for all the support they have given her son, and to remind them to continue to keep those still serving overseas in their thoughts.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.