Before Justin Baldridge came home from Afghanistan, a friend in his U.S. Marine unit who lost both of his legs, made him a promise: He would walk to his military buddy and give him a hug when he returned home.
Baldridge held him to it.
Though photos of the touching reunion were taken the night Baldridge's unit returned from Afghanistan in 2010, Baldridge only recently posted them on Reddit, sparking an outpouring of support.
Colin Pascik lost his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) about three and a half months into the unit's deployment in Afghanistan. While Marines in the unit scrambled to treat him in the field and secure helicopter evacuation, Baldridge recalls that Pascik was "calm and collected" and even told jokes to steady the others.
While Baldridge finished his tour, Pascik returned to the U.S. It wasn't until a coming home ceremony in California -- after Pascik made the promise during a satellite call -- that the two were reunited for the first time.
"At the time I made eye contact with him, a feeling of great joy came over me and we both had huge smiles on our faces," Baldridge told The Huffington Post. "As soon as he stood up I was fighting back the tears as he took his steps toward me. When we embraced in a hug we both began to tear up. The feeling of being reunited with a brother that you had already been through so much with and haven’t seen in almost half a year is indescribable."
But the injury hasn't slowed Pascik down one bit, Baldridge said.
"He is still living a great and exciting life," whether he's off-roading or just relaxing with hometown friends, Baldridge told HuffPost.