Staff Sgt. Paul Martin was sitting in Fort Hood's Readiness Center last Thursday, waiting to get his final medical check before deploying to Iraq. Suddenly, it felt like somebody punched him in the arm — hard.
"I said, 'Golly, this hurts.' And then I looked at my hand, and my hand was just covered in blood. And I was laying on the floor, and the floor was covered with blood," he says.
Martin was among the dozens wounded when a shooter opened fire at the Texas post, eventually killing 13 people. At the time, all Martin knew was that he had to get out of the building.
"I got up to try to get out the building, and I just went the wrong way," he remembers. "I went to the left instead of the right, and I received — feel like a shot hit me in my back. And when I hit the floor and crawled, low crawled, used my Army techniques that they taught me to get under cover."
Martin had lost the feeling in his legs, but it suddenly returned. "I jumped up, and I said, 'If I can make it to this door using my Army training, if I can make it to this door, I'll be out of here.' "
He still didn't know what was going on. "It sounded like a cannon going off."
But it was gunfire, and Martin was shot four times in one of the most heinous attacks at an Army post in decades.
Hear more of Martin's story on Thursday's Morning Edition.