U. S. Air Force MSgt Daniel “Reese” Hines was born in Charlotte, NC on December 15th, 1980. Reese grew up with a passion for playing sports, such as: baseball, football, and Tae Kwon Do. After graduating high school Reese chose to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For the first time, Reese struggled with classes and realized his drive to succeed had waned. He yearned for a challenge that would help prove a direction in his life that college and working 40-hour weeks could not provide.
In October of 2000, Reese took the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test and maxed the score, enabling him to select whichever career field he decided to pursue. After reviewing the choices the Air Force had to offer, he chose to enlist as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) apprentice. EOD’s are responsible for rendering safe conventional, improvised, chemical, biological, and nuclear explosive threats, as well as provide security to the US and foreign diplomats by assisting the US Secret Service, Department of State and other government agencies.
After being stationed and participating in competitive rugby at Eglin AFB, South Korea, Guam, and deployed to Al Dhafra AB, UAE. Shortly thereafter Reese was deployed to FOB Mahmuhdiyah, just south of Baghdad, Iraq. During this deployment, Reese lost a close friend in action, Tony Capra, on April 9th, 2008. Exactly three years later while deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan – also known as the birthplace of the Taliban – Reese was critically injured during a large, planned operation when an IED was remotely detonated and roughly 20 pounds of explosives activated less than 2 feet away from him.
His near mortal wound considered him killed-in-action during the initial confusion following the explosion. Hines suffered damage to both eyes. His right eye had to be surgically removed due to extensive, irreversible injury. Additionally, his right hand was nearly severed and had to be pieced back together, though he did lose his right index finger.
Though the long list of injuries doesn’t stop there, Reese’s right wrist was fused in the blast, and some of his knuckles as well to the right hand and thumb. He suffered from a brain bleed, a traumatic brain injury, a broken jaw, ruptured eardrums, a bolt in his skull, nerve damage in his leg, soft-tissue damage to both arms, and was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The former EOD troop has undergone nearly 30 to 40 surgeries post-injury and six years later, weekly medical appointments continue and a potential complete amputation of his right arm below the elbow is still a possibility.