August 13, 2008 – Capt. Jay Bush was apparently being fired on in Afghanistan when he abandoned his vehicle in the dark and fell 25 feet off a bridge and onto some rocks, according to a congressman who met with the injured soldier last week in Germany.
Bush, a 31-year-old Army Special Forces soldier, is the stepson of state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson, the Democratic candidate for the 11th Congressional District.
Reports surfaced last week that Bush was injured, breaking his back, but few other details emerged at the time.
U.S. Rep. Phil Hare (D-17), of Rock Island, was on a trip last week to Iraq and Germany when he got the chance opportunity to meet with Bush at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
“He was moving his arms and feet,” Hare said. “I gave him a Congressional coin, and he was turning it around and looking at it with his hand. He had mobility.”
Bush was transferred from Germany to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where Halvorson and her husband Jim Bush were expected to see him for the first time since his injury.
Hare said that after the chance encounter with Capt. Bush, he called Halvorson and her husband to let them know the soldier was in good spirits.
“We had a real good conversation. We talked politics,” Hare said. “He asked me if I thought his mom was going to win, and I said absolutely.”
Hare had previously planned a fundraiser for Halvorson and told Bush that such a fundraiser “was a good luck charm.”
Hare complimented the medics who airlifted Bush from Afghanistan to Germany within hours of his injury. He also said it was a good sign that Bush was sent to Walter Reed.
“You don’t leave Germany until they’re confident with the prognosis and that you’re stable,” Hare said. “You could tell he was in pain, (but) he was in good spirits. It did an awful lot for me to see him smile.”
Hare is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and traveled to Iraq with a Congressional Delegation with Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake to see first-hand the medical care being provided to soldiers.
Halvorson faces Republican Marty Ozinga and Green Party candidate Jason Wallace in the 11th District race to replace Jerry Weller.