BY JESSICA JORDAN
Gainesville native and war hero Spc. Channing Moss recently endured his sixth and final surgery.
On Tuesday morning, Moss spent four hours at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta having his intestines reconnected to his rectum, allowing the soldier to ditch the colostomy bag he toted around for more than a year.
His doctor, Capt. Erik Johnson, reported that Moss was faring well, and that he probably will be released from the hospital within the next month.
Moss transferred from Walter Reed Army Base in Washington, D.C., to Fort Gordon in Augusta with his wife, Lorena, and their two daughters, Yuliana, 3 and Ariana, 1, earlier this month. Lorena Moss said that although the surgery went well, it will take time for her husband to recover.
"He’s in a lot of pain right now, but he’s going to be happy in the long run," Lorena Moss said. "This is the final surgery, and it was a big thing for us. It’s what we’ve been waiting for for so long."
She said their young daughters are most impatient about the soldier’s recovery.
"They want to hug him and stuff, and they can’t," Lorena Moss said. "But they know he has a boo-boo."
On March 16, 2006, then-Pvt. Moss was traveling with a caravan of five U.S. Army Humvees in southeastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border when the caravan was attacked by Afghan terrorists. Moss was manning the gun atop a Humvee when a rocket-propelled grenade impaled him. The RPG entered through his right hip and extended through his left thigh, but didn’t detonate.
The 23-year-old soldier was flown to a nearby U.S. Army hospital in the Pashtun province where the explosive was safely removed.
After a brief stint in a U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, Moss was flown to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where Lorena, who was five months pregnant, awaited his return with their then-1-year-old daughter, Yuliana.
Moss maintained a determined and positive attitude through the five surgeries that slowly shrank the hole in his abdomen created by the baseball bat-sized rocket. Despite doctors’ predictions that Moss would never walk again, he worked diligently with physical therapists to regain the muscle strength necessary for walking.
And he defied doctor’s predictions when he walked across a stage to receive the Purple Heart he earned in combat.
Moss has been honored for his service in the United States military by schools and government offices across Hall County. Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic honored Moss with the department’s highest honor, and Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs declared Nov. 2 "Channing Moss Day." Moss’ alma mater, West Hall High School, dedicated its new Spartan Weight Training Facility to the former West Hall linebacker.
And in early November, Moss was surprised to arrive at the Longstreet Cafe one Saturday morning to find a crowd of friends and Hall County residents waiting to hand him a $21,500 check. More than 50 people donated.
Channing Moss, who was unable to comment during the early stages of his recuperation, extended heartfelt gratitude to the people of Hall County through his wife.
"We would like to say a big thank you to everybody, especially to Jack Waldrip and everybody at Longstreet Cafe," Lorena Moss said. "Jack is the father (Channing) never had."
Lorena Moss said that Channing Moss is already able to walk for brief periods, and the surgery was a success. She added that doctors said any complications from the surgery would have come up within the following week, but none have surfaced at this point. With the surgeries behind him, Channing Moss can look forward to beginning the medical board procedure where U.S. Army doctors will determine whether he is still fit for duty or to be medically discharged.
"He’s a trooper. He’s a true soldier," Lorena Moss said. "He’s been through a lot in his life, and he’s overcome everything. He doesn’t let anything bring him down — not even a rocket."