While serving in Iraq, a roadside bomb took U.S. Marine Cpl. Garrett Jones' leg but despite that and after working hard to regain his ability to function normally again, he demanded that he be sent back to combat duty.
U.S. Marine Cpl. Garrett Jones lost his left leg while serving in Iraq as an infantry fighter and after massive rehabilitation and with his prosthetic leg, he fought and won the right to return to combat duty.
His unit is now in Afghanistan and he is again part of that unit.
Due to his injuries, he changed his military specialty from infantry assault man to intelligence analyst, living on a fortified base and assuming the same risks of mortar or rocket attacks as his fellow Marines.
Jones was injured 23 months after he first enlisted and besides having a prosthetic leg, he also lost partial hearing in one ear, but other Marines say he doesn't ask for nor does he receive special treatment, with Staff Sgt. Michael Ortiz who works with Jones, saying, "Not with this guy. He doesn't want to be treated any different than any other Marine. Everybody respects him for wanting to come back after all he gave."
Jones said he had to pass medical tests and "prove in training that he could walk effectively, get in and out of a Humvee and perform other physical tasks", which he did and after fighting to be allowed to join his unit which is now deployed in Afghanisatn, his fellow Marines have nothing but wonderful things to say about him.
Jones didn't get his first prosthesis until November. By the end of December, he had learned how to snowboard again, a sport he had enjoyed for years. He plans to compete in freestyle snowboarding in the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada.
"I can do stuff on a snowboard I don't think any other amputee can do," he said. He would compete to win, which would create "good publicity for the Marine Corps," he said.
"He's amazing -- he can do anything," said Cpl. Paul Savage, who works with Jones here at the headquarters for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, which is based in Twentynine Palms. "There are no limitations with this guy."
Sgt. Matthew Leonard, who worked with Jones in Iraq and now works beside him in Afghanistan is one such example, showing that despite Jones not asking for any special treatment, Jones, according to Leonard, "has earned a special status among Marines because he demanded to be sent back to combat."
Leonard goes on to say, "He didn't just choose to come -- he fought to come. We bled and sweated with this guy in Iraq, and he wants to be with us more than anything. That's awesome."
According to the LA Times, Jones discusses his injuries without any self-consciousness as he states, "I roll with the punches. I'll always have some pain and discomfort, and I've accepted that."
Jones went on to say that he was determined to prove that he could perform in a war zone even with his injuries and the fact that he has won that battle and is again joined with his unit, helping in every way he can, that determination was indeed strong.
In Afghanistan there is an increased risk of the same type of roadside bombs that took Jones' leg originally and yet Jones still says he would gladly take that risk to perform active combat duties again outside of the wire (the base) as he says, "If I were to get the opportunity to leave the wire, I would be throwing gear on in a second, happily. I miss being outside and operating. . . . Believe me, the first opportunity, I'll be there."
It brings an old expression to mind: You can't keep a good man down.