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Former staff sergeant shares his story of re-enlisting in the military post 9/11

Posted: 4:11 AM, Sep 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-11 19:24:55-04
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TUCSON, Ariz. - From a young age Bobby Henline knew he wanted to be in the military.

"I originally joined the army when I was 17 years old, right out of California," said Bobby Henline.

By the age of 19, Henline was on his way to Desert Storm, where he spent six months. A few years later he'd finish his first stint in the military.

"Started doing a lot of different jobs and always wanted to come back to the military," Henline said.

What Henline never imagined was he's return to the military abruptly.

"Things were going great, but then 9/11 happened," said Henline.

One month after the September 11 terror attacks, Henline had reenlisted in the military and was back in basic training, something he had to do since he had spent so much time out.

"I knew I could go back in, help the military, help those young kids that just signed up with the experience I had and also continue to serve my country at the same time after that so I went right back," siad Henline.

Henline was deployed overseas in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

It was his tour in 2007 that he would remember for the rest of his life.

On April 7, 2007 an IED exploded under the humvee Henline and four other soldiers were riding in.

Henline was the only survivor.

"My head was burnt through the skull, 38% of my body was burnt, my left arm was burnt really bad, I had my hand for two years we tried to get it to work I said alright that's it lets take it off, lets keep moving forward with it," he said.

Henline said all he remembers from that time was waking up in a burn hospital in San Antonio. He had spent two weeks in a medically induced coma and didn't remember anything.

Despite losing his hand and suffering so many burns, Henline said the hardest part was something completely different.

"The hardest part was when they told me that I was the only survivor. You know, I'm the old guy who signed up for this twice, I knew what I was getting into. Those four young men died and why didn't I die with them, I went through survivors guilt," he said.

Despite suffering from burn injuries, Henline said one thing is clear now.

"I would definitely do it all over again," he said.

Since 2007, Henline has undergone 48 surgeries, spent a total of three months in in-patient care, and has taken three years to recover.

During the 2019 9/11 Tower Challenge, Henline will be the keynote speaker. Henline will also be participating in the tower challenge.