Home-grown soldier fighting back from Iraq mortar wounds

       US Army Pfc. Steven Micci, 19, who grew up on the Westside, is recovering from severe wounds suffered from a mortar shell that exploded about 10 feet away from him in Iraq Jan. 12.

Pfc. Steven Micci

       A full recovery is expected, although it's not known yet how long that will take, according to his mother, Kathy Micci, who, with his wife Sarah has taken turns staying with him at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., since Jan. 16.
       Steven Micci has received the Purple Heart for his wounds, which consisted of a broken jaw, severe facial lacerations and a compound fracture of the tibia/fibia.
       The first to Steven's side was his sister, Kristina Irving, an Apache helicoper pilot with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade in Afghanistan. “We were both fighting this war on terror on two separate fronts,” she summarized in an e-mail. “I got word via e-mail from my mother [about him being wounded]. I immediately panicked - my little bro was injured by the enemy and I was the closest family to him.”
       Irving was allowed to take emergency leave to meet her brother in Germany, where he'd been sent for evaluation after initial medical treatment in Balad, Iraq. “When they unloaded him off the ambulance, he looked surprised to see me and said (barely audible because his jaw was wired shut), 'Hey Krissy, what are you doing here?'
       “He stayed in Germany only about 30 hours when the doctors said he was stable enough to transport via C-17 (a huge cargo plane). They loaded him in a stackable little thing and off to D.C. we went. The flight was nine hours of agony for him. We arrived at Walter Reed and they put him in the IICU ward (intermediate intensive care unit). He was there only about 15 hours before they did a very long evasive surgery on his leg.”
       In D.C., Irving met Kathy, Sarah and Mia (Steven and Sarah's 1 ½-year-old daughter), and they spent eight days together by his bedside.
       Irving has since returned to her duties in Afghanistan. “While I was at Walter Reed, I had the honor of attending his Purple Heart ceremony and Combat Infantry Badge ceremony,” Irving said. “He is not only my brother, he is my brother in arms. It was bittersweet. Steven was honored to receive the CIB (Combat Infantry Badge), but when awarded the Purple Heart he said, “This is one award I never wanted.'”
       Kathy Micci said her son will probably have to stay at Walter Reed until at least the end of February. After that, he is to be moved either to Fort Carson or Fort Stewart, Ga. (the home of his unit).
       Steven had attended Buena Vista Elementary, West Middle School and Coronado High School, and had also worked at Cy's Drive-In (which his mother owns) and at the Sno-White cleaning company. He had entered the service just over a year ago.
       “I just want everyone to know what a hero he is,” Kristina Irving said. “He has a long road to recovery, but he is strong-willed.”
       Added his mother: “He's on the mend. We don't know the extent of it or how long it will take, but at least he will heal.”
       Anyone wishing to send Steven Micci a get-well card can mail it in care of the Micci family at 2108 W. Uintah St. 80904.

Westside Pioneer article