A Wounded Warrior's Return To The Fight
by U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Andrew Cortez
June 25, 2019
For any Marine sidelined by injury or illness, the first thought that comes to mind is when they can get back in the fight.
The Marine Corps Wounded Warrior program does just that for service members who need to focus on recovery. When a service member gets injured severely, they will go to the Wounded Warrior Battalion to recover when they are unable to rehabilitate and perform their job at the same time.
June 1, 2018 - The commemorative statue of 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal being carried by Lance Cpl. Chris Marquez and Lance Cpl. Dan Shaffer, after taking heavy fire, stands outside of the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West (WWBn-W) headquarters building on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Juan C. Bustos)
Unfortunately for some, not everyone gets the opportunity to go back to the fleet. Some service members decide that they are going to get out of the Marine Corps after their recovery, and some try to recover and get back to their units.
“If a member comes in with the mentality that he or she is going to give all effort into recovery, and get through the tough situation they are in, the recovery will be a lot different,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Anthony Naccarato, Company Commander, Wounded Warrior Battalion
Gunnery Sgt. Markendy Louis has been with the battalion and recovering from a stroke he suffered a year ago. Before Louis joined the battalion, he served as an administrator with 1st Radio Battalion. He said his job was straightforward and he enjoyed it. One morning Louis woke up to a day that would change his life forever.
“I saw the faces, I could see my wife’s face, my kids, but I could not talk,” said Louis. “All I could do was point and try to tell them it’s me.”
Once Louis had his stroke in March of 2018, his faith was strong that his voice would come back quickly. When three months passed without any sign of improvement, he became depressed and lost confidence. Doctors told him he would recover soon, but he didn’t believe them any longer.
After a few weeks with the battalion, things started to change. When he heard what other Marines were going through, he knew they could relate to him, and that made a huge difference. It started to lift his spirit.
On one occasion, the battalion took some patients to a graduation at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Louis remembers that when he saw the ceremony, he knew he wanted to fight and keep the title he worked hard to achieve.
“Today, I am 80 percent recovered, Louis stated confidently. “They say it takes two years to recover fully, so I’m hoping I’ll be at 95 percent by then.”
Louis continues to work his recovery and reintegration back to the fleet. His goal is to continue his job and eventually retire when ready.
“Like they say Marines never quit…so you never quit.”
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