Incredible Health

Georgia veteran to undergo surgery decade after being shot in face

Dusty Kirby was on guard duty when he was shot in the face on Christmas Day 2006.

Dusty Kirby was on guard duty when he was shot in the face on Christmas Day 2006.  (Fox5 Atlanta)

Nearly 10 years after being shot in the face by a sniper, a Georgia Navy veteran will undergo surgery Monday to repair his badly damaged mouth and jaw.

Dusty Kirby, 32, of Canton, Georgia, was shot in the face while on guard duty with a U.S. Marines unit in Iraq on Christmas Day in 2006.

"I was hit with a high-powered sniper rifle,” Kirby told Fox5 Atlanta, pointing at his chin. "It impacted right here, and made contact [on] the middle of my tongue, and then blew my jaw out here.”

Military trauma surgeons saved Kirby’s life, and he’s since undergone over 30 operations. The father of four recently received a letter confirming that a team of New York City surgeons will repair his mouth and jaw. The surgeons are part of Marine Assist, which provides free plastic surgery and dental services to Marine veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Kirby will only have to pay for his hospital stay after the operations.

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Kirby met the surgeons at a benefit for wounded warriors in New York nine years ago. In the fall, he reached out to see if their offer to help still stood.

The Georgia man will undergo surgery at NorthWell Lenox Hill Hospital, during which the team will rebreak and reposition both sides of his jaw to improve alignment. Then a plastic surgeon will repair soft tissue damage to improve his appearance.

Kirby has struggled with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and painful headaches, Fox5 reported. He also feels as if his smile is falling apart.

"I'm mentally prepared, I'm spiritually prepared, I'm about as physically prepared as I could possibly be,” Kirby told the news channel.