His own blood still stains the notebook that Master Sergeant Michael Trost was carrying in his cargo pants pocket on a mission earlier this year in Afghanistan.
"We opened it up and I said, oh my gosh a round went through there," said Master Sgt. Trost, pointing to the bullet hole that ripped clean through the notebook front to back before entering his right leg. It was one of six gunshot wounds he suffered back in February during a mission to check on some schools.
"When a bullet goes by you close it makes a thwack, like it's thunder almost ripping the sky open," said Master Sgt. Trost as he recalled the day he was shot from behind by an Afghan officer manning a truck-mounted machine gun.
"I was counting the holes last night with my wife. When you count my hand, its six," said Master Sgt. Trost, his hand still bandaged while sitting in a wheelchair with a leg brace clutching his right ankle.
"I can't walk like I used to but I'm getting close, I'm getting real close," said the Army veteran with a service record stretching almost three decades.
In our on-camera interview during a recent trip to the campus of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Master Sgt. Trost explained why the shooter open fired. In our forty-minute interview he walked us through the details on the day he was shot, his injuries and his recovery. Approaching age fifty, he is one of the older wounded warriors from the current conflict in Afghanistan.
"Even when it looks like there is nothing left, there looks like there is no way, there's got to be a way," said a man now entering his third month of recovery.
Master Sgt. Trost has had an audience with President Barack Obama, spent a good half-hour chatting with First Lady Michelle Obama, and shaken hands with a string of other dignitaries thanking him for his service.
But aside from his short-term physical goals, he wants nothing more than to return to his homestead in Maryville.
"I'm just hell bent for leather to get home," he Master Sgt. Trost.