(WBIR - Morristown, TN) Robert Croxdale never questioned that his son would serve his country. Generations of Croxdale men already had.
But for some reason, he never worried about him.
Maybe it's because, by his mother's account, Travis Croxdale was the kind of man who always excelled at everything he tried.
Bull-riding, football, acting, art. Growing up, Travis did it all.
But as with many military families, there's always that unspoken fear of the phone call. For the Croxdale's it came Tuesday morning around 7 a.m.
"The first words out of his mouth were, 'Dad, I'm ok, but I've been shot twice," said his father. "It was the absolute nightmare that became reality for me."
According to Robert Croxdale, his son and his unit were in a small arms fire fight when Travis was hit at least once in the leg. He says his son also sustained shrapnel wounds, but kept fighting until shock set in.
"The fact that that he continued to do his job, is enough," said Croxdale. "[I'm the] proudest parent on Earth. I didn't realize how big of a privilege it would be to be his dad."
Travis enlisted in the Army straight out of high school. His father was deployed to the Middle East with the National Guard when Travis signed up.
As of Thursday, the family still wasn't sure about the extent of his injuries.
"He said 'I've still got my fingers and toes. I'm still breathing. I'm still alive. I've just got two holes in my leg,'" said Robert.
Travis is being treated at a hospital in Germany, but the family is expected to be reunited Friday at an Army hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
Until then, mother Anisa Croxdale says no amount of reassurance will substitute for seeing her son.
"Everybody can tell me, even he can tell me, he's ok, but he's not going to be ok until I can hold him," said Anisa.
In addition to being a National Guardsman, Robert Croxdale is also a Morristown firefighter, and he says he's thankful for the community's support.
Just being at work with his colleagues, says Croxdale, has helped him process the recent events.
Morristown VFW Post 5266 is providing financial assistance to the family to help defray travel and lodging costs while staying near Travis in Maryland.
Anyone who would like to contribute can mail checks to Morristown VFW Riders at 2503 E Andrew Johnson Hwy, Morristown, TN, 37814 and designate the donation for the Croxdale family.