Cory Remsburg’s Incredible War Story
Policy + Politics

Cory Remsburg’s Incredible War Story

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama recognized a U.S. Army Ranger who has been fighting to recover after a roadside bomb nearly killed him in Afghanistan.

Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg has an incredible story. The New York Times wrote about him in August, noting that he's probably the only wounded service member who has met Obama three times. In his speech, Obama said Remsburg "never gives up, and he does not quit," and that he reminds us that "America has never come easy."

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Remsburg joined the Army on his 18th birthday. He wanted to join at 17, but his father, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve firefighter, refused to sign the papers.

Remsburg was first deployed in 2003 when the U.S. invaded Iraq, according to The Arizona Republic.

He's been on 10 deployments total to Iraq and Afghanistan and has spent 39 months in combat as an elite infantryman. Remsburg was made leader of his company's heavy weapons squad during his time served.

In 2009, a roadside bomb blast left Remsburg nearly dead, face down in a canal with shrapnel lodged in his brain. The IED went off while Remsburg and other Rangers were on their way to clear a landing zone for transport helicopters, according to The Republic. Other Rangers were also injured in the blast.

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The explosion left him in a coma for three months, barely able to speak or move, with a traumatic brain injury. Remsburg lost sight in his right eye and his left arm became paralyzed, according to The Army Times. He's been through dozens of surgeries and completes six hours of occupational, physical, and speech therapy every day. And his hard work is paying off — he's now able speak, stand, and walk.

After years in hospitals and rehab centers, Remsburg moved into his own home, where he has a full-time caregiver. His recovery is still progressing, and he is now awaiting a retina transplant for his right eye, according to The Times.

Remsburg insists he's not a hero. He said during a ceremony in Arizona last year that the people who saved his life in Afghanistan are the real heroes.

He still has an active life — he travels the country attending various ceremonies and events, and every week he rides miles on a recumbent bike with other veterans.

Remsburg has been awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among other honors, for his dedicated service. He's 30 years old and lives in Phoenix. Remsburg sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech.

This article originally appeared in Business Insider. 

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