Guardsman's surgery postponed

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Lewisburg man in the Tennessee Army National Guard has been awarded the Purple Heart as a result of his service in Iraq and, according to his brother, his surgery for a ruptured ear drum was postponed from Tuesday.

Dustin West, who lives at the south side of Lewisburg was in town for Independence Day, contrary to the understanding of his fellow soldiers in the 279th Armored Cavalry Division that returned on Saturday in Smyrna.

His self-described "baby sister," Ashley "Robin" Mullins, 25, of Limestone Avenue, works as a cashier at Busy Bee Market, previously the Southside Market, and she says Dustin's twin brother Russell "Rusty" West, drove Dustin back to Camp Shelby, Miss. several days ago so he could have surgery on Tuesday.

Thursday morning, Rusty West reported that Dustin "has not had surgery yet."

The guardsman suffered a ruptured eardrum and a concussion when an improvised explosive device was detonated where he was on duty in Iraq. He was awarded the Purple Heart "during a ceremony in Iraq about two weeks ago," Rusty West reported.

"He was to see a doctor today (Thursday) and he's asked if he could have the surgery in Tennessee so he'd be back in Tennessee near his family," Rusty West said.

Rusty West of Colburn Drive, a former Waste Management employee who's on sick leave, said his brother "has kind of a lazy eye now. He can't keep his balance ... and he can't hold something. You can hand him something. He will grasp it but he'll drop it...

"Hopefully, he'll know something today," Thursday, Rusty West said.