Region 8 Hero Rebuilding Future - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro
Mitch Lilly Reports

Region 8 Hero Rebuilding Future

Maj. Walleon Bobo undergoing physical therapy at HealthSouth in Jonesboro. (KAIT/D.Westerhold) Maj. Walleon Bobo undergoing physical therapy at HealthSouth in Jonesboro. (KAIT/D.Westerhold)
A close-up of Maj. Walleon Bobo's left hand, injured in Mosul during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (KAIT/D.Westerhold) A close-up of Maj. Walleon Bobo's left hand, injured in Mosul during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (KAIT/D.Westerhold)

July 28, 2003 - Posted at: 10:47 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Walleon Bobo is an alumnus of Arkansas State University. He is an employee for UPS. He is also Maj. Walleon Bobo, U.S. Army, and, thanks to and ambush in post-war Iraq, he is back home in Region 8, recovering from his wounds.

Bobo served as a member of the 431st Civil Affairs Battalion out of North Little Rock. Deployment as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom landed Bobo in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul beginning in March.

But a terrible tragedy brought him home early. On the evening of June 29, Bobo and another soldier were traveling down a Mosul expressway in a civilian vehicle to a U.S. civil military operations center. On the way, a group of Iraqis in an adjacent vehicle began firing rounds at the Major's vehicle. In only a matter of seconds, Bobo's life changed.

"When I looked over my left shoulder," Bobo said. "I saw an AK-47 pointed at my head."

The Iraqis fired ten to fifteen rounds at Bobo's vehicle. One bullet passed through his left hand, while more gunfire struck his body.

"I got an AK-47 round that got in under the body armor," Bobo said. "But it only got into the flesh and exited the flesh, it didn't penetrate my rib cavity."

At that point, Bobo took over the wheel of the civilian vehicle.

"We were able to out-maneuvers them in the traffic and get a pretty good separation, and literally outrun the assailants," Bobo said.

After the incident, Bobo was transported to the states for medical attention. His wife and family were contacted.

"Earlier that morning, I had what most people call a premonition," Sharon Bobo said. "In my spirit I knew that Walleon was in danger, and I prayed and asked God to protect him."

Bobo's left pinky-finger was amputated. He is now undergoing therapy at HealthSouth in Jonesboro.

"To not be hit with a fatal round was a blessing," Bobo said of the incident. "In fact it's all too obvious that God intervened."

"He's grateful," Sharon said of her husband. "He realized that he's blessed, and he's happy he's alive."

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