Recognizing Our Wounded Warriors at the MCA&F 2014 Wounded Warrior Awards Reception
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation hosted the 3rd annual Wounded Warrior Awards Reception at The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., April 3, 2014. Marines, military sponsors and guests came from around the country to show their support for the Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR). Col Willard Buhl, Commanding Officer of The Wounded Warrior Regiment, began the evening with opening remarks.
“This is always so exciting. This is our day, our anniversary and tonight we recognize the pride of the regiment. It is the most blessed duty in the Corps,” said Buhl. “This is the only organization in the Corps that has one mission focus—to care for the wounded, ill and injured Marines.”
Award recipients at the reception were: Cpl Ivan E. Sears, recipient of the Wounded, Ill or Injured Service Member Award; SSgt Joshiah C. Jordan, recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Leadership Award; Andrew P. Gasper, recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Civilian Caregiver of the Year Award.
Cpl Sears enlisted in the Marine Corps in October 2008. On September 18, 2010, Cpl Sears survived an improvised explosive device (IED) attack and walked away from the blast with shrapnel-induced injuries to his legs. After returning to duty three weeks later on October 7, 2010, he stepped on a pressure plate hidden in the ground resulting in an explosion, which cost him both his legs below the knee.
“I’m missing my legs, but I will still conduct myself as a Marine and how I have been trained to be. I’m still me, I haven't changed that much,” said Cpl Sears. “I have good days and bad days. I try to stay positive and have a good attitude.”
SSgt Jordan, recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Leadership Award brought his wife, Lanarial, to the reception. After spending nine years in the Marine Corps, he was assigned to the WWR in April 2012. During his tenure in the Marine Corps, SSgt Jordan has been deployed several times and was awarded the Gung Ho Award while attending the Marine Corps Career Course at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“It’s an honor to win this award,” said SSgt Jordan. “I feel like I just did my job. I appreciate the recognition.”
Peter D. Prowitt, Executive Director, Global Government Relations, GE Aviation, General Electric Company (GE), came to show support for the wounded warriors.
“It’s hard to imagine a more worthwhile mission and organization. GE Aviation and their employees are honored to support this community. GE Aviation sponsors the Wounded Warrior Regiment Leadership Award.
Also attending from Illinois was Scott Tomblin of Caterpillar, the sponsor of the Wounded, Ill or Injured Award, which was newly designed this year. The award now features the image of the famous Hell House photo taken by photographer, Lucian Read, featuring then-1stSgt Brad Kasal. By the time he was carried out of the house by LCpl Chris Marquez and LCpl Dane Shaffer, Kasal had lost approximately 60 percent of his blood. Kasal was blood-soaked and still holding his M9 pistol and KA-BAR fighting knife — as he was carried out in the photograph captured by Mr. Read. Col Buhl was there when he was being loaded on the helicopter and he tried to pry the gun from Kasal’s hand. He had to reassure him that he would not be needing the gun any more. 1stSgt Kasal received the Navy Cross for his valorous actions that day.
The WWR provides assistance for wounded, ill or injured Marines. The regiment helps these Marines to return to duty or transition back to civilian life. Families are able to remain with them through the various phases of their recovery. Marines are assigned a specialized care team, which consists of recovery care coordinators, transition coordinators and Marine leaders.
“You are dealing with a population of Marines that come from a variety of military occupational specialties (MOS). They didn't ask to be here,” said Jordan. “Unfortunately, some of their wounds or injuries are the reason that brought them to the hospital. Nothing that I have done in the Marine Corps could have prepared me for this. We did training, but a lot of it is just dealing with each Marine on a case-by-case basis.”
Col Andrew O. Starr, USMC(Ret), Government Program Manager with MSC Industrial Supply Co., attended the reception to show support for the wounded warriors and as the sponsor of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Civilian Caregiver of the Year Award. Col Starr has been a member of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation for more than 15 years and enjoys reading the Marine Corps Gazette.
“I love working for a company that provides industrial products for the Marine Corps,” said Col Starr. “MCAF expands leadership programs and recognizes programs like the Wounded Warrior Program. It’s really a big family.”
MCAF supports the WWR through donations and provides professional development. Panasonic Corporation provided more than 100 tablets and computers last year for Wounded Marines. Hewlett Packard also assisted – providing computers and printers for the WWR’s transition programs. The tablets and computers will also be used for educational and medical scheduling needs. In May 2013, MCAF funded a professional military education (PME) trip to Belleau Wood for wounded Marines that served in the Fifth and Sixth Marine Regiments and will be providing the books and supporting the trip again in May 2014. MCA&F also provided copies of their flagship publications—Leatherneck Magazine and the Marine Corps Gazette—to hospitals to advance the professional development of these Marines.
- By Tina Valentine
If you would like to learn more about all our Foundation’s programs for Marines, or you’d like to support our programs with a tax-deductible donation, visit: www.mcafdn.org.