In desperation the doctors reopened Mahaffee's chest in his hospital room and massaged his heart by hand while his father offered prayers nearby. Mahaffee's wife said she stayed in the room as long as she could bear it.
Lawton flew back to the United States for the funeral and read Mahaffee's notes from Baghdad during the service. Jennifer Mahaffee, who spent much of the day carrying Adelia Rose and 2-year-old Ethan, said the last of her energy had been drained.
"I had a very bad feeling about his injury from the beginning," she said afterward. "I don't know why. Even when other people were being optimistic, I just didn't think he was ever going to come back."
Sergeant Berry's recovery
Berry's recovery was largely uneventful. At Landstuhl someone hung a sign behind his bed saying he was a Marine, creating some confusion among the Army and Marine Corps ambassadors who roam the hospital every day and visit the wounded men and women from their branch of the armed services. Berry thought it was funny and was too drugged up on fentanyl to care.
Besides, the sign was half-right. Berry, 28, had been in the Marine Corps five years, joining right out of high school. But he never liked it and quit as soon as he could. Once back home in Philadelphia, Tenn., he went to a technical college and earned a degree in computer graphics design, and then joined the Army. Soon after arriving at the hospital from Iraq, he'd decided to leave the Army too.
"I just want a different life, after all this," he said.
Berry's only medical complication was a high fever that struck at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington a few weeks after he was injured, but the doctors controlled it with antibiotics. He needed skin grafts and surgery on his arm, and he had bruises all over his body that took some time to heal. But by summer he was content and looking forward to going home, surfing the Internet from his hospital bed in search of a one-handed video game control built for amputees.
He had never heard of Factor VII, had no idea he'd been injected with it, and never suffered any clot-related complications. He was grateful for everything the Army's physicians had done to take care of him in Baghdad.
"I wish they could have saved my arm," he said. "But I'm happy they saved my life."
A clot during surgery
Lufkin threw a blood clot on May 18, three days after Mahaffee died, during surgery at Walter Reed to repair his left leg. The clot lodged in his lung, and doctors had to stop the surgery, then put him back on a respirator and wheel him into intensive care. They didn't know where the clot had come from, but clots almost always break free from veins in the legs, and Lufkin's left leg was a mess inside and out.
He'd been recovering well. His mother took her first airplane ride to visit him at Walter Reed on May 8 and was horrified at the extent of his injuries and the glassy look in his eyes, but she went to work spoon-feeding him and cleaning the dirt from his fingernails.
"Try to imagine walking through that door and seeing your perfect child lying there, blown apart, with cuts and pieces of shrapnel all over him and his eyes just lifeless," said Gorsline, his mother. "I'd never felt so angry before."
His teenage brothers came, too, then his grandmother and other family members, feeding him cookies and Subway sandwiches. He was in pain much of the time, made worse by bouts of intolerable itching, but the son and brother he was before Iraq began to slowly emerge from the wounded soldier in Room 5733.
He talked about the attack. A child on a bicycle rode alongside the vehicle just before the blast, and a huge crowd of Iraqis gathered as the injured soldiers lay bleeding on the ground. He remembered lying there thinking he had to survive to see his brothers, Lance and Taylor.
A sergeant from his unit visited and photographed him holding a sign that said "Keep Kicking Ass!!" and then sent the picture back to friends in Iraq. The man known for his smile frowned as he stared at the camera, the same look he had for much of his time at Walter Reed.
Doctors rescheduled the surgery on his leg for May 25 and on the day before told Lufkin he wouldn't have to stay in Washington for physical therapy but could move closer to his home in rural Illinois. It was exciting for him, and he started planning a cookout with friends, right down to the menu. But he didn't stop there. He talked about taking a trip to Australia and planning new adventures. It was, family members said, one of the happiest days since he'd come back from Iraq.