DALLAS — U.S. Army Staff Sargent Travis Mills should have died in 2010, he'll be the first to tell you this. His platoon accidentally triggered a series of 13 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) while on patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Mills was critically wounded in the explosion, which came moments after he set down his 100-pound gear pack.
"I wasn't going to go out like a sissy, I wasn't going to yell for my mom, or cry, so I was like 'hey check it out, tell my wife I love her, tell my kids sorry I'm not going to be there and make sure they're taken care of and let them know that I went out like a true champion," said Mills Friday Morning in Dallas.
Four days after the explosion, on his 25th birthday, he woke up from a medically-induced coma.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound college football player turned army paratrooper had no limbs. At the time, he was one of four quadruple amputees.
He didn't know it then, but he had joined another brotherhood — one of wounded warriors.
"He was just like, 'hey man, what's up? It gets better, and once I did that I was like OK, well now I've got my purpose," said Mills.
"I've got my direction, I've got my motivation, now I've just got to get going."
Mills, who lives in Maine with his wife and young daughter, will deliver the pledge of allegiance during the Dallas Veterans Day Parade set for Nov. 11th.
His story is featured in a documentary titled "Travis: A Soldier's Story" which will premiere in Dallas next week.