A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant from Billings who was shot multiple times in Afghanistan earlier this month received a Purple Heart medal last week.
Sgt. Dustin Stroble, 24, was shot on Nov. 8 in the left hand, right shoulder and mouth, breaking his jaw, while on security foot patrol in Helmand province.
His mother, Jeri Domson, said Stroble has been recovering at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., since Nov. 12. In between surgeries and physical therapy, he received the Purple Heart on Nov. 18. The medal signifies that he received combat-related injuries.
“They even let his older brother (Casey), who's in the Marines, too, pin it on him,” Domson said.
The ceremony was attended by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.
Stroble recently underwent a six-hour surgery on his shoulder to piece together his scapula. He has jaw surgery scheduled for Dec. 13.
Domson returned home on Nov. 24 after spending 10 days in Maryland with her son. She said all of his close family members have visited and that he's slowly recovering.
“He is still pretty weak,” she said. “He's just now starting to get up and walk around a little.”
Because of his broken jaw, Stroble can't talk much and has been communicating with family and friends through a liaison, in writing and using text messages. If his surgery goes well and the hole in his throat from a tracheotomy heals well, he should be talking again soon, Domson said.
Stroble joined the Marines in 2005 after graduating from high school in Cody, Wyo., and spends most of his free time in Billings. He was on a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan when he was shot.
He also recently signed up for another term with the Marines and plans to stick with it once he's recovered, Domson said.
“He's doing very well considering what he went through,” she said. “He's very, very lucky to be alive.”
Now, she's looking forward to the possibility of having her son home in the near future.
“Depending on how his recovery goes and what kind of physical therapy he needs, I might be able to bring him home for Christmas,” Domson said. “That'd be the best present I can imagine.”