Brave Soldier Self-Amputated His Leg To Save Crewmates


Army Specialist Ezra Maes is a hero. The 21-year-old was deployed in Poland, where during an overnight exercise, he noticed that their tank was rolling a hill downwards. Maes stated, I called out to the driver, “Step on the brakes! But he shouted back that it wasn’t him.”

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After an Abrams tank crashed into an embankment, Spc. Ezra Maes noticed his leg was stuck in the turret gear. He later amputated his own leg and used a belt for a tourniquet to free himself and help two other injured soldiers.

Ezra’s crew used their emergency brakes immediately, but they realized they couldn’t do anything to stop their tank from rolling because it’s already moving down at almost 90mph. Ezra stated, “We realized there was nothing else we could do and just held on.”

Eventually, the tank crashed towards an embankment. Maes flew across the machinery, and a gear caught his leg. However, even in pain, the primary concern of the soldier is to keep his crew safe.

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@USArmy Spc. Ezra Maes spent four months in intensive care undergoing near daily surgeries and battling an infection. He’s now assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion and undergoing physical and occupational therapy.

He said, “I pushed and pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear. I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone.”

Ezra was bleeding heavily, but he managed to push himself to locate the tourniquet from their medical kit located at the back. He expressed, “All I could think about was no one knows we’re down here. Either I step up, or we all die.”

Once Ezra placed the tourniquet on his leg, he called out a crewmate to toss his phone to him. Ezra unlocked his phone and texted for help.

Ezra was brought to the hospital immediately before being airlifted to Germany’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Unfortunately, the doctors can’t save his leg, but Ezra sees the positive side of things.

The hero soldier said, “I feel super lucky. My crew all does. So many things could have gone wrong. Besides my leg, we all walked away pretty much unscathed.”