Mindset Change Due To
Combat Injury and Twin Brother's Death
by Alexandria Brimage-Gray, Defense Logistics Agency
August 28, 2019
Earl Granville never wanted to join the Army. But an unusual
request from his twin brother helped to change his mind, and his
Granville, who served as the keynote speaker for the
Philadelphia Compound Veterans Committee’s annual Memorial Day
ceremony on May 21, 2019 described the exact moment that he decided he
wanted to join the military.
May 21, 2019 - Retired Army Staff
Sgt. Earl Granville, a Purple Heart recipient, speaks during
a Memorial Day ceremony on Naval Support Activity
Philadelphia. Granville, a nine-year infantry veteran under
the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, was wounded by a
roadside bomb in 2008 while on patrol in Afghanistan
resulting in the amputation of his leg left. (U.S. Navy
photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony
“I knew I wanted to go to
college. I did not know what I wanted to do, but I wanted a higher
education,” Granville said. “My twin brother decided to join the
military. We saved our money and we bought a car together.
night, when I had the vehicle … he asked me to give him a ride to
talk to [an Army] recruiter about something.”
recalled that his decision to join the Pennsylvania National Guard
that night in 2001 was about him and what he could receive, not
“’Free education! I want to go to college.
Yes, I’ll take that,’” he said. “’Looks like we get a free computer.
Yes, that sounds awesome too! Look at all those benefits.’”
Granville’s first deployment was to Bosnia. Shortly after his
return, he volunteered to serve a tour of duty in Iraq with his twin
brother because he knew if something happened to his brother over
there it would kill him.
It was during that time that his
focused shifted from me to us.
“When I joined the military, I made it about me. In the
situations that we faced over there - being a [noncommissioned
officer] over there - I realized it was not about me. It’s about us.
Some of my friends passed away over there, but my time in Iraq, for
their sake, made me love my job. And I wanted to continue to [serve]
In 2008, Granville volunteered for a deployment to
Afghanistan, which was a decision that changed his life forever.
“We had been on a five-day
mission, Granville said. On the final day, we took a different route
to the site where we were about to build this school.”
seeing the first patch of green grass in months, the next thing
Granville remembered was seeing black.
“I could hear a faint
noise and felt a momentum,” he said. “The vehicle was completely in
pieces to my left and my feet were backwards.”
explosion, Granville sustained serious injuries to his right leg and
lost his left leg. Two team members also died that day.
multiple surgeries, months of physical therapy to learn to walk
again and coping with the loss of team members on the battlefield,
Granville was medically retired and ready to move forward.
Granville said he started dating again and felt good about life. But
a surprise call from his distraught mother changed all of that.
Granville had lost another teammate - his twin brother, Joe, who
“I thought, ‘How could I get this second
chance at life and Joe take his only one,’” Granville recalled.
Struggling to come to grips with his brother’s sudden death,
Granville decided to change his focus back on himself. During a
follow-on conversation with some of his brother’s friends, Granville
learned that Joe was so proud of the things he was accomplishing
following his recovery.
“After the conversation, I asked
myself would Joe be proud of me now?” he said. “So I decided to
change a little bit by challenging myself physically and helping
wounded and disabled veterans and law enforcement continue to live
an active lifestyle after their injuries.”
Today, not only
does Granville continue to challenge himself by participating in
marathons and Spartan races, he challenges his listeners as he
shares his story.
“After losing my leg, I learned that it is
not about me, not about Joe ... but ... about we ,” he said. “When you look
at that uniform, any branch, it is full of purpose, all the passion
that comes along with it, and you are a part of something bigger
Spc. Earl Granville (left) and his brother Spc. Joe Granville pause for a photo in Kuwait in 2005. The two were serving with the 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Doug Roles)
Throughout the presentation, Granville
highlighted some of his accomplishments post injury but Army Brig.
Gen. Mark Simerly, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support commander,
believes his example to us is most noteworthy.
“I would say
that the things that he has accomplished after the incident should
interests us the most,” Simerly said. “His commitment and his
courage to make the most of his life and to set an example for the
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