“I cried because I had no shoes; until I met a man who had no legs”.
Brendan Marrocco has no legs. He has no arms, either.
He left them in Iraq.
A little over a year ago, Specialist Brendan Marrocco, then PFC, was driving an armored Hum Vee in a convoy near Baiji in northern Iraq, when a IED blew up, ripping the vehicle apart, killing his best friend and seriously wounding another soldier. A fourth soldier walked away, unharmed.
When Brendan was taken to the hospital, he also had a severed carotid artery. Doctors didn’t notice it at first, because it wasn’t bleeding. It wasn’t bleeding because Specialist Marrocco had no blood left to speak of, having lost 80% of his blood supply in the field.
Brendan Marrocco now lives at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center complex. His older brother quit his high paying job to serve as a caretaker for Brendan. They share a small apartment near where Specialist Marrocco receives physical therapy.
Amazingly, he did not suffer any brain damage from the bomb blast or the subsequent loss of blood. He was the first soldier to survive the loss of all four limbs in the Wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the attack on Specialist Marrocco, a second soldier has suffered a similar fate, and he too lives at Walter Reed.
The amazing and inspiring part of this story is not that Brendan Marrocco survived. It is that rather than lose himself to his war wounds, Specialist Marrocco has become an inspiration to all those around him, maintaining a positive attitude and even a sense of humor about his situation. At the Walter Reed complex, he is seen as a hero to other amputees, including the Marine that also lost all four limbs.
Where does someone faced with such adversity summon the courage to not only deal with the loss, but to become a role model for others dealing with severe war wounds?
This is the face of war. It is not the caskets lined up in the cargo bay of a transport. It is not pictures of presidents and generals. It is not the cold statistics on the page of the newspaper. It is not Senators and Congressmen debating the funding and strategies of the Wars.
The face of war is a 23 year old Army Specialist that is broken, but not defeated.
Specialist Brendan Marrocco is the face of war.
(The thread photo is of Specialist Brendan Marrocco outside Walter Reed.)
William Stephenson Clark