OKLAHOMA -- An Oklahoma marine is in the hospital tonight recovering from a ghastly wound. Doctors had to amputate his lower leg after he was bitten by a rattlesnake near Ft. Sill in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
Despite the horrific injury caused by the poisonous venom, he is alive thanks to two of his buddies.
Marine 2nd Lts Taylor Quackenbush and Matthew Holliday were with their friend, 2nd Lt. Anthony Kemp, hiking through the rugged hills of the refuge when suddenly, Kemp was bitten on the calf by an angry 6 to 8 foot rattler.
It seemed to come out of nowhere; no warning rattles at all.
Quackenbush describes what happened next. “I called 911. My other friend helped him walk a little bit. He was in pain. But he was being really tough about it, being extremely brave."
Lt. Holliday knew it was a serious bite when he looked at the fang marks on Kemp's leg. "It was bleeding pretty profusely."
The two Marines got Kemp down the hill and to a park ranger. From there, Kemp was rushed into the hospital and into surgery. But Holliday and Quackenbush say not to call them heroes.
"It's just something we're kinda taught to do,” says Lt. Holliday. “ Be there for each other for something like this, or anything in life."
The rattlesnake attack happened back on Feb. 7th. After the surgery to remove his lower leg, Kemp has been getting stronger in the hospital. He has been smiling and joking with his friends, which comes as no surprise to Holliday.
"He's a Marine... he's a fighter."
Despite the operation to amputate the leg, Lt. Kemp still faces more surgeries.