Garrett Jones, Amputee Marine, Returns to War Zone

Marine Corporal Garrett Jones is back serving as a combat infantryman in Afghanistan, only a year after losing most of his left leg in Iraq.

 Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times U.S. Marine Cpl. Garrett Jones was deployed to Afghanistan just a year after losing his left leg to a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq as an infantry fighter. In previous wars, Jones would have received a medical discharge and returned to civilian life. But in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the Pentagon has made it possible for some amputees to return to duty.On July 23, 2007, Jones was on foot patrol near the Iraqi city of Fallouja when he was injured by a roadside bomb. After the attack, his left leg was amputated above the knee. He developed infections and fevers. His weight dropped from 175 pounds to 125. At 21, Jones faced months of painful rehabilitation and a likely end to his service in the Marine Corps.

One year later, Jones is walking smoothly on a prosthetic leg. He not only continues to serve on active duty, but he has worked his way back to a war zone, serving with his Marine battle buddies in Afghanistan.

In previous wars, Jones would have received a medical discharge and returned to civilian life. But in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the Pentagon has made it possible for some amputees to return to duty — and for a few to deploy overseas again. Advances in medical care and high-tech prostheses have enabled amputees to function far better.

Jones said he couldn’t bear the thought of not deploying with close friends in his unit after he learned last fall that they would be sent to Afghanistan. He also wanted to pave a path for other amputees and show them what’s possible, he said.  “I want to be someone an injured Marine can talk to,” Jones said. “And I can tell them: ‘Times will be rough and not always easy as an amputee, but you can still make great things out of an unfortunate situation.’ That’s what I want to do.”

Truly remarkable.

According to the report,  “Sixty-two soldiers, airmen or sailors have lost limbs in combat and returned to active duty, according to spokesmen for the Army, Navy and Air Force.  No information was available for the number of those amputees who have returned to duty in Iraq or Afghanistan; some estimates put the number at about a dozen.”

And how about this?

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. Once, while in a simulator that mimics a Humvee rolling over, his prosthesis popped off, he said. He reattached it and continued the drill.

The man’s definitely a Marine.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    It’s stories like this that gives me new hope for this country. It’s easy to be cynical until you hear of people like this who represent the future of out country.

    Here is someone who initially volunteered for hazardous duty, who could have taken a medical discharge to get out of harms way, but chose instead to fight his way back into danger.

    When the day comes that the old farts in power today have given way to the next generation of leaders, this country will be greater than ever.

  2. What gets me is that this is being done for a corporal. We have long made exceptions for senior officers (e.g. Gen. Franks) where there is a good argument that the use of their brains outweighs any limitations of a missing leg or whatever. But a corporal has limited management, maximum hand on doing roles.

    Further, as a nation, we can both develop the capabilities and afford to distribute them to some one as far down the food chain as a corporal. And as PTM notes above, the fact that he has a heart for this is just as amazing.

    I wonder if a story like this would be enough to make Michelle feel good about this country for the second time in her adult life.

  3. Anderson says:

    So long as he’s not gay.

  4. sam says:

    @yetanotherjakes

    I wonder if a story like this would be enough to make Michelle feel good about this country for the second time in her adult life.

    Just couldn’t pass up the opportunity, right?

  5. Beldar says:

    Genuinely inspirational.

  6. anjin-san says:

    That’s one tough dude…

  7. anjin-san says:

    I wonder if a story like this would be enough to make Michelle feel good about this country for the second time in her adult life.

    I wonder if it would make you embarrassed about using this brave guy to try and score a cheap political point. Apparently not.

  8. Scott Jones says:

    Hello. I am Cpl Jones’ father. I found this site by googling my son’s name. Thank you all for the kind words. He is one of many young people his age who are loyal to our country and brave enough to fight for her. I am very proud of him and of all of them.

    My son is still technically an infantryman, but due to his physical limitations, he is working at his Headquarters Company in the Intelligence Section. He is very happy to be working with his “band of brothers”.

    I would like to reassure “Anderson” that he is definitely not gay.

    Thanks again for all the kind comments.

    Scott Jones