The 24-year-old nephew of an area woman is recovering from serious injuries received in an Afghanistan attack Friday that killed three Marines and a military dog.
Billy Simmons is being flown back to the U.S. with two broken legs, a broken wrist and broken jaw, according to his aunt, Jeannie Powell of Kenesaw. She said he had surgery Saturday to stabilize his legs and remove shrapnel.
“We don’t know the (full) extent of his injuries,” she said. “We’re all upset. He’s lucky to be alive.”
Powell said her brother, Steve, is Billy’s father. He and other family members are being flown to Maryland to be there when Billy arrives.
Steve graduated from Kenesaw High School and now lives in Alliance. Four siblings and their families live in Kenesaw and the surrounding area.
Powell said Billy joined the Marines about a year ago because he wanted to do something better with his life. He had been in Afghanistan since April as part of a NATO International Security Assistance Force.
The Lincoln Journal-Star reported that a bomb reportedly carried by a motorbike exploded close to the NATO patrol, flipping their vehicle. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
Simmons was born in Alliance, graduated from a Grand Island high school and moved to Lincoln about five years ago.