FORT WORTH, Texas – The soldier who was photographed fighting the Taliban in his pink boxer shorts said Saturday he was glad to be back home in Texas after his yearlong deployment to Afghanistan — especially for the Fourth of July.
Specialist Zachary Boyd said he initially thought he'd get in trouble after an Associated Press photo first transmitted in May showed him with other soldiers behind sandbags wearing his "I love NY" boxers — plus flip-flops, a helmet and a bulletproof vest.
The Fort Worth soldier jumped up from a nap when his unit came under fire and didn't want to waste time putting on his uniform.
"Every second counts," he said.
Boyd said he had bought the boxers during a New York layover before deploying and chose pink because he thought his friends would laugh. As for a bright red T-shirt he also was wearing, Boyd said he wasn't overly worried about drawing fire that day.
"The enemy already knew where I was," Boyd said. "If they want to shoot at me, then that's less fire they put on the guys that are pinned down, so that's fine with me."
All members of his unit came out of the fight safely, he said.
Now that he's home in Fort Worth he said his boxers will be displayed in the 1st Infantry Division museum at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Although Boyd has been praised for his courage, the 20-year-old specialist said he was just doing his job.
"I don't want any extra attention than the guys I served with because we all experienced the same stuff together; so I don't feel like I should get any extra recognition," Boyd said.
Since the photo gained worldwide attention, Boyd has received messages on social networking sites from hundreds of people around the globe as far off as China.
After spending a few days at home with his family, Boyd must return to Fort Hood near Killeen, where he is on active duty until February 2011. Boyd said he plans to begin training to become a helicopter pilot.