‘Dead, twice’ was Spencer soldier
Not so long ago, Ben Manthe was like any of the Spencer junior and senior high school students sitting in the seats of the LuCille Tack Center for the Arts on Veterans Day, listening to some speaker talk about what it means to serve one’s country. Manthe is behind the podium now, telling a new generation not just what it means to serve, but to almost die while doing it.
Manthe is 34 years old now, married, a father of four, and a U.S. Army 10th Mountain Infantry Division veteran who took a bullet to the face in Afghanistan in August 2011. Over the span of some 1,900 days and 14 reconstructive surgeries, his face was put back together, he said at the Nov. 9 Veterans Day program in the Tack Center, but he’s still trying to find his way out of the mental wounds of war.
Manthe’s heart “flat-lined” two times in the first hour or so after he was struck by a 7.62-mm bullet. “Dead, twice,” he told the SHS students, but a medic on the scene and later medical staff at a forward operating base stabilized him well enough to get him to a military hospital in Germany. From there he was flown to a San Antonio, Texas, hospital, where he would recuperate and meet other veterans who had suffered wounds in the field.
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