Iraq war veteran home to recover from knee surgery

photo by Cassie Hewlings/ Sgt. Cody Boden is greeted by his grandmother Thursday night at the Grand Junction Regional Airport.

Sgt. Cody Boden lost most of the meniscus cartilage in his knee while marching with his unit in Baghdad, Iraq.

The 22-year-old Grand Junction native and R-5 High School graduate was supported by crutches from the surgery he had this week to repair his knee when he arrived Thursday night at Grand Junction Regional Airport.

But smiles came easy when Boden was met by his mother Anna Marie, sister Cassie Lachowsky, his aunt, grandmother and other family members along with a row of American flags held by members of the Patriot
Guard Riders and Blue Star Mothers.

“I remember when Cody enlisted, because I didn’t prepare for it,” Anna Marie Boden said. “He said, ‘I want to go to Iraq so kids can play in the street like I did.’ ”

Cody Boden didn’t have much to say when he arrived, thanks to pain medication, but said he was tired and happy to be home.

“I’m going to go home and lay on my couch,” he said. “And hug my sister again.”

Boden enlisted in the Army in 2005 despite his mother trying to persuade him otherwise, Anna Marie Boden said, and spent some time in Alaska before being deployed to Iraq for about a year in October 2006.

“He was 6 feet tall and bulletproof,” Lachowsky said. “Check that — 18 feet tall.”

Boden was a sniper and team leader while in Iraq, his mother said. He was hit by improvised explosive devices several times, Lachowsky said, and was on life support twice because of his injuries.

“We’re lucky to have him here, for sure,” Lachowsky said.

Boden returned to Alaska after his deployment to work with troubled youths at a military academy, his mother said.

He will be able to enjoy the holidays and his 23rd birthday at home while recovering from surgery, she said.

Art Edwards, retired Vietnam War veteran and assistant state captain of the Patriot Guard Riders, said Boden’s mother invited his group to her son’s homecoming, and several local members were on hand to salute Boden with a row of American flags.

The Patriot Guard Riders, with about 62 members from Grand Junction, support military veterans and their families by attending veteran funerals and homecomings when invited, Edwards said.

“We’re there to protect families and show respect,” Edwards said. “We just want to be there as much as we can, and let them know we care about what they’re doing.”


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