Highly decorated Green Beret relays battle at motivational seminar

Posted Monday, Aug. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When John Wayne Walding’s right leg was nearly shot off in a battle in Afghanistan, the Green Beret tied it tourniquet-style to his thigh and continued to help his fellow Special Forces soldiers.

“Be careful what you ask a soldier to do because they will die trying to accomplish their mission,” he told a group of about 50, including local law enforcement, on July 19. “You can take my leg, but you can’t take my heart.”

Walding was the invited guest at a motivational speaking engagement hosted by Eye Consultants of Texas. He spoke of the need to strive to reach goals that seem unattainable, whether in a chosen profession or everyday life situation.

He joked that he had to become a soldier because of his John Wayne moniker, his Texas roots and his Fourth of July birth date.

“You don’t do it because you like it, you do it because you love it,” Walding said of his military career.

A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and the recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Walding talked of a day that he said tested his mettle.

Known as the Battle of Shok Valley, the 2008 nearly seven-hour siege was a joint American and Afghan forces raid.

When Walding was shot, his leg hanging on by “an inch of flesh,” he continued to fight the Taliban.

“I tied my leg to my thigh with my bootlace and got back into the fight,” he said.

When an audience member asked how he was able to do so, Walding said, “I scooted around on my butt.”

The Green Beret said the soldiers eventually were transported out and, “we all lived happily ever after.”

But before the good memory, it was a nightmare, he said.

“I died twice on the table,” said Walding, who works with Craft International, an organization founded by the late Chris Kyle that trains military and law enforcement professionals.

Even so, he said it was a learning experience.

“Life is precious and it’s not that serious,” Walding told the audience. “Live life to the fullest.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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