CINCINNATI – A new photo of the Cincinnati soldier whose brave salute inspired a nation shows him in recovery and reunited with his dog.
Josh Hargis’ wife, Taylor, posted this photo of the Army Ranger on her Facebook page Monday afternoon with the caption: “Reunited and it feels so good!!! Dent was so happy to see his daddy!”
Hargis, 24, is being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
A photo of Hargis’ saluting his commander from his hospital bed in Afghanistan went viral last week. Hargis’ legs were severely injured in a suicide bomb attack, his mother told WCPO.
The attack killed four members of his unit and injured 11 others. Hargis’ bomb-sniffing dog also was killed.
The 2007 Dater High graduate posted a thank-you to supporters on his Facebook page:
"A huge thank you to everyone who was a part of this and is now a part of it. Only through your love and support may we overcome this difficult road ahead," Hargis wrote.
The new photo drew a happy response from Hargis' friends on Facebook.
"Oh my gosh. Is this a wonderful sight to see. Love you both so much," said Lora Bull.
"Thank you so much for sharing Taylor, I know this is a personal and private time for you guys. Please know much love, warm thoughts and prayers are being sent from the Cincinnati area," said Tasha Chisenhall.
"Looking good Josh. You are one strong Man and we are all proud of you. Praying and wishing the best for you, Taylor and baby," said Buddy Money.
Taylor Hargis is expecting their first child.
Hargis' father and sister have also visited him in the hospital. His sister, Angela, an Army sergeant, is stationed right there at Fort Sam Houston.
A spokesperson for Brooke Army Medical Center said Hargis has asked that his information about medical condition not be released.
Hargis’ story of bravery began with his own determination through several failed efforts to get into the Army. He took his case all the way to Washington, his mother, Laura Heitman, told WCPO.
“It took him a long time to get into the Army after high school because he had a skiing accident and broke his femur, and they wouldn’t accept him,” Heitman said.
He worked as a server at Brio restaurant at Newport on the Levee but never gave up hope of becoming a Ranger.
“He was just very determined. He wanted so bad to be a Ranger. After three or four times, he wrote to the Surgeon General and got accepted from the Surgeon General," his mother said.
“After he went to Fort Benning, they asked him to join the Rangers right out of boot camp. It was a great honor.”
This was his fourth tour of Afghanistan, Heitman said.
Hargis' mother said she has been getting daily updates from the Army on her son's condition.
When she talked to him for the first time, she said Josh was more concerned about her than himself.
She has breast cancer and recently finished chemotherapy. Her cancer is in remission, she said.
"He really wanted to know how I'm doing. He was more worried about me," she said.
Hargis was captain of the soccer team at Dater and a popular student. Terri Wessel said she taught Hargis at Dater and called his concern for his mother “typical Josh ... worried about others first.”
“Seeing the picture of him saluting was the first I knew of him being injured. I teared up when I saw the picture but smiled at the same time as that picture summed up the type of man that Josh is. True American hero in my mind,” Wessel said.
“I am keeping Josh, his family and his fallen brothers in my prayers and am thankful for the men and women like them that serve this great nation.”