Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican, announced on Saturday he will take a one month leave from his congressional duties to recover from surgery to his eye. He noted that he will be “effectively blind” for a month.
Crenshaw’s statement said, “This is a terrifying prognosis for someone with one eye, and the nature of the injuries that I sustained in Afghanistan. Anyone who knows the history of my injuries knows that I don’t have a ‘good eye,’ but half a good eye. The blast from 2012 caused a cataract, excessive tissue damage, and extensive damage to my retina. It was always a possibility that the effects of the damage to my retina would resurface, and it appears that is exactly what has happened.”
He continued, “The surgery went well, but I will be effectively blind for about a month. During the surgery they put a gas bubble in my eye, which acts as a bandage for my retina. This means I have to be face-down for the next week or so, unable to see anything.”
“I have gotten through worse before, and I will get through this.”
The former Navy SEAL certainly has been through worse. Crenshaw lost his right eye in an IED attack while deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2012.
According to a report in The Washington Post, “On June 15, 2012, when Crenshaw was 28, he and his platoon helicoptered into Helmand province on a last-minute mission to support a Marine Special Operations unit. At the time, Helmand was littered with improvised explosive devices. Bombs were so present in some areas that it was safer to crouch in place during oncoming fire — and wager on a sniper’s uncertain aim — than to dive for cover onto uncertain ground.”
The report said, “While Crenshaw’s platoon moved to secure a compound, an Afghan interpreter named Raqman, who wanted to become a Navy SEAL himself, responded to a call and crossed in front of Crenshaw. Raqman stepped on a pressure plate, triggering 15 pounds of explosives and suffering fatal injuries. Crenshaw, who was a couple of paces back, said he felt like he was hit by a truck while a firing squad shot at him. He was on the ground and his eyes were numb. The rest of his body screamed like it had been scratched open and doused in Tabasco. He reached down and felt his legs. Good sign. He had no vision, but assumed his eyes were just filled with dirt.”
While a medic was assessing the his injuries, Crenshaw said, “Dude, don’t ever get blown up. It really sucks.”
Considered a rising star in the Republican Party, Crenshaw first won his seat representing Texas’ 2nd congressional district in November 2018. He defeated seven opponents during the Republican primary, “then squashed a state legislator in a runoff.” Crenshaw won a second term in November.
Shortly before Election Day in 2018, Crenshaw’s grace endeared him to a nation.
Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson held up a photo of Crenshaw wearing an eyepatch and joked, “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit-man in a porno movie. I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”
The show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, called Crenshaw afterward to apologize and to invite him to come on the next show which he did, reluctantly.
Sitting next to Davidson the following weekend, he told viewers, “But, seriously, there’s a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the left and right can still agree on some things but also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country.”
Crenshaw told Americans that rather thanking a member of the military for their service, say “Never forget.”
Over the last year, I've gotten a lot of questions about where I got my eye patch, why I wear it, and the glass eye underneath. So here is the scoop. I get my eye patches at https://t.co/H6fZqbcFRk pic.twitter.com/pctcy1Iq6S
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) December 10, 2018