'I really think he's Superman'

Above: Staff Sergeant Travis Mills (middle) lost all four limbs when an explosive device went off next to him. He is wearing a prosthetic arm.

He has been compared to Superman and the All-American hero. US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills is one of only five soldiers in recent times to have survived the loss of all four limbs.

Seriously injured during his third deployment to Afghanistan, the 25-year-old father of two has astonished doctors with his desire to walk again, making progress that is advancing medicine's understanding of multiple amputees.

His determination is such that there are almost 20,000 fans on Facebook willing him on to recovery.

Staff Sgt Mills was on patrol in April when he put his bag down on an improvised explosive device, which then tore through the decorated high school athlete's muscular 1.90m-tall frame, Daily Mail reported.

Now he spends his days at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, working on rehabilitation, and recovery is expected to take at least a year.

Sitting in his hospital bed, he described his situation plainly: "I just had a bad day at work."

And his family - especially his wife, Kelsey - admires him for that. "I think he's Superman. I really do," she told AP.

"It's amazing to see just how lucky he is. I mean, he's the luckiest unlucky guy."

Staff Sgt Mills told AP in a telephone interview: "There's no reason to sit here and look out of the window and feel sorry for myself. It happened. I can't change the fact that it happened. I can't turn back time."

At Walter Reed, he does exercises designed to make his body leaner while strengthening his core, hip flexors, chest and shoulders.

Assistance

While Staff Sgt Mills is in the midst of getting his permanent prosthetics, he needs assistance to do things that most people take for granted, such as cooking, cleaning, walking and running.

Videos show him using his artificial hand to feed his infant daughter, Chloe, who has been a significant source of inspiration to him.

"Turkey and rice, tastes so nice!" he sings, as the baby girl opens wide and flaps her hands.

Staff Sgt Mills is looking forward to September, when his unit returns to Fort Bragg, a large army installation in North Carolina.

He said: "I'll be there, hopefully on my prosthetics.

I'll be standing in my uniform with an arm on my right and left side, and I'll be able to salute them as they come in. I'll be standing there waiting for them."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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