Story Updated: Aug 31, 2006 at 1:02 AM PST
By Theron Zahn
SEA-TAC AIRPORT - 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Ryan Harnish came as close to death as you can get. That is why the reunion with his family and friends at Sea-Tac Airport Friday night was so emotional.
Harnish was one of the first Marines into Baghdad. While under enemy fire, he was hit in the head by a rocket propelled grenade.
"It hit me square on," said Harnish.
The grenade didn't explode, but left a hole in his kevlar helmet.
Harnish was knocked out for several minutes, but amazingly as soon as he came to, he grabbed his rifle and continued firing.
"It made me mad, I got mad." said Harnish.
He then fought for several more hours before he could get the medical attention he needed.
"He actually, he called me while he was on the stretcher," said girlfriend Jessica Drake. "I don't know how he ended up calling me, but I couldn't hear him. All I could hear was a bunch of yelling in the background,"
"I have a headache mostly, I've lost some hearing in my left ear," said Harnish.
The good news is he should recover.
To Harnish's family from Federal Way, he is a hero, and they are so thankful for another touch and hug, knowing they came very close to never enjoying these simple things again.
"There is a lot things he talked about that a lot of moms don't want to hear until their sons get back," said his mother Debbie Adams.
"It's the best day of my life, having him home," said stepfather Rob Adams. "Very proud of him, extremely proud."