For Granville, that site was Zormat, Afghanistan where a June 2008 roadside bomb killed two Army comrades and left him with critical injuries that he somehow survived. "I mean I was just happy to be alive I think when it all went down." Some might think revisiting Afghanistan is the last thing a wounded warrior would want to do. For Granville and the others, it meant arriving and leaving the war zone "this time" on their own terms. "Some take it as a closure and I just think it's motivating to get back over, to get back over there in uniform and just... you don't feel as defeated I guess you could say."
Granville and his fellow wounded warriors fielded questions from armed forces in the field. "They would ask about our limbs, our prosthetic limbs or awareness and how did we feel during our recovery." The wounds aren't always physical. Many troops struggle mentally. Granville's twin brother Joe, a fellow soldier, committed suicide in 2010. The personal pain is something Granville wanted to share on his return trip to Afghanistan. "My brother and I joined the Army together and after I lost my limb he took his own life. I thought this would be a good opportunity while I'm over there, while I'm speaking with troops just to tell his story a little bit."
Granville also got to see the progress as the Afghan government wrests control from the Taliban. "It was very comforting to see that, to know that not only my leg or my fallen comrades didn't pass in vain." Granville also visited fellow members of the 109th Infantry 55th Brigade from northeastern Pennsylvania currently serving in Kuwait. "Some of these guy picked me up when I was injured, when I was wounded in that moment. And just being over there with them again in uniform is something I never thought I'd be able to do again." For Earl Granville, Operation Proper Exit is mission accomplished. "I wasn't doing any fighting or anything like that but just being back over there in uniform with some fellow comrades is just an amazing feeling."
Operation Proper Exit is sponsored by the Troops First Foundation, with support from the USO. Granville says he would like to get involved with the program by possibly serving as a mentor for other wounded warriors.