Soldier Fights Battle on Two Fronts to Remain In Army Despite Cancer

Published 03/17 2014 10:18PM

Updated 03/17 2014 10:33PM

FT. LEONARD WOOD, MO -- Private First Class Ozzy Asbell said even cancer can't stand in the way of his dream of becoming a soldier.

Asbell, 23, was fighting on two fronts. One was testicular cancer that became metastatic.

"Had cancer again this time it actually moved up from a certain area, moved up to my back, then it changed what the Army was thinking," Asbell said.

Asbell had chemotherapy and surgery and months at home all while trying to go through basic training.

"They were trying to kick me out at the beginning of time," Asbell said.

The Army believed Asbell's first bout with cancer started before he joined the military in the fall of 2012.

"Whenever I had gotten a letter and they were saying we recommend discharging this soldier, there's something in me that I said, 'they're missing the human dimension'." said Capt. Zebulon Pike.

But, Asbell's commanders believed in him and the cancers return in the summer of 2013 happened during his enlistment.

"You see so many guys go through here and they leave broken and then you see guys like Asbell he was willing to gut it out," Pike said.

"I signed contract for a reason, not just because I was bored. I really wanted to do something out of this whole career. It's the reason I joined the United States Military was to finish something," Asbell said.

On this day Asbell proudly wears this patch.

"I am a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist  defending people, training them what to do, getting them to safety," Asbell said.

Captain Pike said the Army could learn from this young soldier.
Pike explained, "His story is an inspiration not just to the soldiers around him but to leadership. It tells you 'Hey, guess what? Whenever the paperwork comes across your desk look a little deeper at that person and their spirit and if there's a warrior spirit there we want it. Ya know.'"

Asbell graduated March 15th and is now awaiting his first assignment.

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