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Soldier with Friday Harbor ties recovering from non-combat injuries received in Afghanistan

Ryan Buckley ... Army soldier from Friday Harbor recovering from non-combat injuries sustained in Afghanistan. - Ryan Buckley
Ryan Buckley ... Army soldier from Friday Harbor recovering from non-combat injuries sustained in Afghanistan.
— image credit: Ryan Buckley's Facebook page

A former Friday Harbor man serving in the Army in Afghanistan is recovering from injuries sustained in a non-combat accident.

Ryan Buckley, 33, was injured in early September. While he was unloading a Black Hawk helicopter, a truck drove into him and pinned him against the helicopter; the impact broke his femurs and knee caps, according to a prayer request e-mailed out by Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.

Buckley's brother, Scottie, is in Afghanistan as a private contractor working on helicopter engines and was with him after the accident, according to the prayer request.

Buckley was flown to Germany and then to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent surgery Sept. 20.

"Ryan's surgery was long and very difficult," a family friend wrote in an update e-mailed out by the Presbyterian Church. "The doctors had trouble with the knee caps but told (Buckley's mother, Cathy) that he should heal as he is young.

"He has to be in a wheelchair for 12 weeks there at the hospital for now. Then another month or more of physical therapy. Pray for Ryan's pain to start to go away now that all the bones are set. It will be a long road home to full recovery."

Buckley is at least the fourth soldier with local ties injured since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003; two others were killed in action.

— Sgt. Michael Bitz, the son and grandson of San Juan islanders, was killed March 23, 2003 when he and other Marines were attacked by Iraqi soldiers that had pretended to surrender.

— In December 2003, Army Warrant Officer Carrie McLeish of Friday Harbor was injured in a vehicle collision in Tikrit.

— Marine Pvt. 1st Class Cody Calavan, grandson of Shaw islanders, was killed in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, May 29, 2004.

— On Aug. 25, 2005, Army Sgt. Richard (Buzz) Robertson and his Special Operations unit was in an up-armored Humvee when it hit a mine. Several of the men died. Robertson was believed to be on his fourth mission in Iraq.

— On May 1, 2009, Army Sgt. Tom Bauschke of Friday Harbor was struck by shrapnel when his unit came under surprise attack from Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. He received the Bronze Star.

— ONLINE: Ryan Buckley's Facebook page.

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