CPL (Ret.) Stephen Marcum*, USA
As a child, Stephen spent most of his time camping at the lake with his family in Lebanon, MO. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, who drove a tank in the Army. His brother also serves in the Army as did his grandfathers served in Korea and the Air Force.
Stephen’s company deployed to Afghanistan in July 2009. While in Afghanistan, they were based in the heart of Kandahar. His platoon volunteered for the more dangerous areas to patrol. On October 16, 2009, they were in a new area gathering info with the Afghan police for an Infantry Brigade. They crossed a small bridge after clearing it. After traveling down a narrow road for 30 to 45 minutes, the 12 in his platoon were stopped at a purposely made mud hole and began to take small arms fire.
As they pulled out of the area, they began to take RPG, grenades, and more small arms fire. When they crossed the bridge coming out, Stephen’s Humvee was hit by a blast sending in the air before landing on its roof without the front tires, axels, or engine. He was sucked through his vehicle from his gunner’s position before landing away from the vehicle.
Stephen broke both arms, a femur, shattered his tibia and fibula, and fracturing his skull damaging his frontal lobe. He was in a coma for the next month.
He was initially stabilized at Kandahar Airfield, and then flown to Germany where he underwent surgeries to deal with his injuries. Once he woke up, they began brain therapy before sending him to the Tampa VA, which specialized in traumatic brain injuries. After a month, he transferred home and continued therapy for the 2 ½ more years.
His wife is a stay at home mom and is the primary care giver for Stephen, as well. His father has also been helping to care for Stephen. He and his wife have 2 children.