Erik Galvan (EG) and Daniel Wheeler (DW)
EG: All I remember is coming up to those tree lines, and something just didn’t sit right with me. So I got on the radio with you.
DW: You said, ’I don’t like this. This doesn’t feel comfortable.’
EG: You told me to keep pushing through and we got into an argument, and I said, ’Well if I get [expletive] blown up, it’s your fault.” And sure enough I remember stepping on an IED, dirt coming in my face and I blacked out. Last thing I remember is dying and then waking up in a hospital. I remember looking down to check for my legs and the blanket that they had covering me just laid flat right around the knees. And at that moment I realized I no longer have legs, and all I can remember was you and I arguing, getting hurt and then more of my Marines getting hurt.
DW: Couple weeks later I finally got around to punching those numbers into the phone, then you didn’t answer.
EG: If I would have picked up the phone I probably would have said something I wouldn’t be able to take back. But one day I sat by myself for a few hours and what I came to was, it wasn’t your fault. You had your orders: I had mine. Who’s to say that wasn’t the safest route? That was when I started talking to you again.
DW: After we had our conversation, I went to a bar ordered a couple of glasses of scotch. It felt like there had been a great burden taken off me because at that point I could work on forgiving myself. Do you have any regrets?
EG: The last words I spoke to you was out of anger. If I would’ve died, I don’t think you could’ve lived with yourself, and I apologize for that.
DW: Luckily we have a second chance.
DW: Our friendship went from being professional very work-like, to a personal, close friendship that I’m still glad we have.
EG: I’m glad as well. We reached each other when we were ready, when it was time to relieve ourselves from this burden.