‘We are brothers with the same fate,’ says Staff Sgt. Brian Mast, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan, to former IDF soldiers at Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv.
A US soldier who sustained severe wounds in Afghanistan met with Israeli counterparts at the Beit Halochem Sport Center for Disabled Veterans in north Tel Aviv on Thursday.
St.-Sgt. Brian Mast was a member of the US Army’s elite Joint Special Operations Command, serving as an explosive ordnance disposal operator in 2010, when he lost his legs to a bomb blast.
He has since undergone some 20 operations, and made dramatic progress in his rehabilitation process.
Mast told Israeli soldiers that he was excited to meet them and see how they were dealing with their injuries with bravery. He praised the Beit Halochem (“Warrior’s House”) center, a part of the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, for the many tools it provides to IDF veterans.
“We are brothers with the same fate,” Mast said. “We have all proven that nothing can stop us in achieving any dream.”
Mast, a father of two, met Col. Shlomi Dahan, the former commander of the Southern Brigade of the Gaza Division, who was seriously wounded in 2008. Mast gave Dahan a symbol of his unit, and the two men spoke with additional injured Israeli veterans, including some who were wounded in Operation Protective Edge last summer, including Capt. Omri Levi.
The American visitor then took part in a wheelchair basketball game.
Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization – Beit Halochem serves some 50,000 IDF veterans injured during their military service in a variety of circumstances.
A delegation of US veterans suffering from severe PTSD will visit the Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv in March.