Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Cpl. Ronald Carreathers, a field artillery canoneer with Golf battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, was operating as his team’s lead dog handler alongside Hunter, an improvised explosive device detection dog, during a patrol conducted in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when he was shot in the foot, Aug. 7.
Carreathers was awarded the Purple Heart, Oct. 31, after recovering from his wound.
The Marine and his dog had been on multiple patrols just like this one. Everything seemed normal as the day was coming to an end but, as the patrol neared the last compound, the dog left his owner’s side to search the doorway, right before the shot rang out.
Carreathers remembers falling and trying to get up multiple times. He thought he had only rolled his ankle, until he looked down and saw that he was shot. The first emotion he felt was anger at the sniper for shooting him.
There was no return fire from the team. Everyone took cover and tried to figure out where the shots had come from.
A corpsman came over to help get Carreathers to a vehicle. Since an air evacuation was not possible the team used their convoy to transport him back to the patrol base where he was given further treatment for his foot.
Once he was back, he was sent to multiple hospitals until finally coming to Camp Lejeune, N.C., to have his progress monitored, start physical therapy, and stay in a barracks room rather than the hospital.
Once the wound was healed and Carreathers could walk on his own, with the help of an air cast, he went back to his home in Los Angeles, for 29 days of convalescent leave.
During his stay, his stepfather helped make arrangements for him to be able to work as an advisor on off-shore oil rigs when he returns home permanently
Along with a new job, Carreathers will be getting a new roommate, one who brought up his morale when it was low and who was along on all the seemingly endless patrols with him in Afghanistan. Hunter, the same dog that kept the team safe from stepping on IED’s and helped the Marines get through their deployment.
“We’re just waiting on one final email to finalize the adoption. He said the adoption looks good and that I’m top priority since I was his last owner,” said Carreathers. “We’re both scheduled to get out at the same time, ironically. He’s been on three deployments and served for four years, so his time is almost up.”