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Heroes

CPL MICHAEL FOX

Michael-Fox
Our Story Begins with Cpl Michael Fox, USMC Ret. Michael joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008 to serve his Country. He deployed out of Camp Pendleton, CA with 2/4 in 2011. While on foot patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, Michael stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) pressure plate. The powerful explosion caused immediate amputation of both legs and severe injuries to his left arm and hand. He was medevaced to Camp Bastion where he was stabilized and then flown to Landstuhl, Germany. A few days later he was transported to Walter Reed Naval Medical Center in Betheseda, MD. After multiple complex surgeries, Michael was determined to begin his life again. Once he was able to get around the hospital in his wheelchair, Michael noticed a lot of his military brothers in similar or worse situations. From that point Michael and his father, Tweed, realized something had to be done to take care of other severely injured Marines. They wanted to begin an organization which helps wounded Marines, like Michael, for years to come as they adapt to their new lifestyles. In 2012, The Wounded Marine Fund started.

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CPL JOSHUA HOTALING

Joshua Hotaling was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. He graduated from Capital Christian High School and enlisted in the Marine Corps in April of 2006. He completed his boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Joshua reenlisted on 9/11/2010 so he could deploy as a team leader with 1/5 to Afghanistan. On 5/13/2011, while on foot patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, Josh triggered an IED. The explosion severed both of his legs and caused major damage to his right hand. If not for the quick work of the Navy Corpsman and his squad, Joshua would have most certainly bled out. He was air lifted to a field hospital where his right thumb and part of his right index and middle fingers were amputated. Once stabilized, he was medevaced to Germany in preparation for his journey back to the United States. Joshua arrived at Walter Reed Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD shortly thereafter. While at Walter Reed, he underwent 17 surgeries on what was left of his legs and several more on his hand, as well as other wounds he sustained. After weeks at Bethesda he transferred to San Diego Naval Medical Center where he endured intense rehabilitation and physical therapy. Joshua now walks with prosthetics and is an active diver with hopes to be an instructor. Your donation will help this hero cover expenses for items that contribute to his independence and enhance his quality of life. Thank You on behalf of, CPL Joshua Hotaling, USMC Ret.

2013 Warrior Games

CPL Josue Barron

Josue Barron joined the Marine Corps shortly after high school because he wanted to fulfill his duty as a red-blooded American. He became stationed with 3/5 at Camp Pendleton as an Infantryman. Cpl. Barron showed outstanding leadership and was often recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty. Cpl. Barron trained in various countries including Japan, Korea, and Australia. On September 27, 2010, Cpl. Barron and 3/5 deployed to Afghanistan.
On the morning of October 21, 2010, Cpl. Josue Barron was conducting military operations in Sangin, of the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Cpl. Barron followed behind an Engineer who was sweeping for mines. Unfortunately, the Engineer stepped on a pressure plate IED that sent shrapnel flying in Cpl. Barron’s direction. The shrapnel claimed Cpl. Barron’s left eye, left leg and inflicted several other serious wounds. Cpl. Barron felt guilty that his injuries would keep him from completing his tour of duty and commitment to his fellow marines.
At just twenty-one years old, Cpl. Barron felt like a mere shell of the man he used to be physically, but mentally he was as tough as ever. He put his mind towards healing and not letting these injuries pull him down. After two years of intense rehabilitation, he wears his prosthetic leg and glass eye everyday and walks with his head held high. Despite suffering these injuries, Cpl. Barron has participated in 6 full marathons including the Marine Corps Marathon twice, and he participated in the third annual Warrior Games as a hand cyclist and wheelchair basketball player. He and a few fellow wounded warrior created a wheelchair basketball team made up of wounded service members which competed against teams all across California and the Western United states and was recognized by the NWBA (National Wheelchair Basketball Association). He plays golf, climbs, surfs, mono skis and volunteers to help Veterans groups. He even found time to renew his vows with his wife, Debbie.
“I want to continue serving my country, my community and the many like me who share the common burden and struggles to succeed,” says Cpl. Barron. “I am ready for a new chapter in my life as a retired Marine. My experiences have made me the man I am today, the scholar and professional I hope to become. It’s because of gracious organizations and programs such as The Wounded Marine Fund that allows me to grow.”

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CPL Carlos Garcia – USMC

Carlos grew up in Pasadena, CA. When he was 12 years old, his family moved to Duarte, CA where Carlos attended middle school and high school. Carlos started hanging out with the wrong crowd. About a year after graduating high school he finally realized that he could do more with his life, but needed a push in the right direction. With this in mind, Carlos decided to join the United States Marine Corps and left for Boot Camp on August 24, 2009. Carlos chose to become a Combat Engineer because he loved the idea of working with explosives.
On November 20, 2010 he was injured during his first deployment in Sangin, Afghanistan by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Both of his legs were severed at the knee, his left femur was broken, and he suffered a minor Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). After months of rehabilitation and family support, Carlos began to put his life back together. Carlos has hand cycled in six marathons, alligator and boar hunted in Florida, mono-skied in Colorado, fished in Alaska, and competed at the 2012 Warrior Games for wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing. His wheelchair basketball team won the 2013 and 2014 Western Conference Championship. Carlos also completed a 5K Rugged Maniac race.
Carlos was Medically Retired from the USMC in September 2013. He is currently enrolled in his fourth semester of college with hopes to become an Ultrasound Technician. Carlos and his wife Jacki have a two year old daughter, Isabel, and a newborn son, Andrew.

Jose at his Purple Heart ceremony

CPL Jose Armenta

Jose Armenta joined the Marine Corps after graduating from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in 2007. After graduating at the top of his class in Military Police School, Armenta was selected to attend the K-9 Handlers course at Lackland AFB, in San Antonio, Texas. He completed the course and received the Top Dog Award for his outstanding performance. His first duty station was at Camp Pendleton, CA with the I MEF, MP SPT Co. He trained military working dogs there for two years before he was transferred to the III MEF MP SPT Co, in Okinawa, Japan. In the summer of 2011, Armenta trained with the III MEF for a year with his military working dog, Zenit, before they were deployed and attached to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in the upper Sangin Valley of Afghanistan. He participated in over fifty combat missions with the 1st Platoon of Charlie Company. On August 28th, 2011, Armenta and his platoon conducted a security patrol in an area known for having high IED threats. Armenta and his platoon moved through a canal searching for IEDs. They successfully found five IEDs and after marking them for removal, Armenta and his point man continued through the canal. Jose began to search an area of the canal that was likely to have an IED and unfortunately stepped on a pressure plate containing over ten pounds of home made explosives. Jose woke up five days later in Landstuhl, Germany and realized he lost both of his legs above the knees. He was then medevaced to Bethesda Naval Hospital where he underwent thirteen operations. Three weeks later he was medevaced to Balboa Medical Center where he began his rehabilitation and the arduous process of learning to walk again using prosthetics. Nearly three years later and after 1.5 years of intense physical therapy, Jose continues to live with daily physical challenges. Jose and Zenit are retired from the Marine Corps and currently live in Chula Vista, CA. Jose owes his recovery to the support of his loving wife Eliana and his strong belief in that with every tragedy comes an opportunity. Jose & Eliana were recently blessed with the arrival of their son Dean.

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CPL Juan Dominguez, USMC Retired

Juan joined the Marines on September 4th, 2007. He wanted to follow his family’s military tradition. His grandfather, uncles and father were all in the service. Juan’s father, also his hero, served in Vietnam in the Army and received a bronze star with Valor.
Juan graduated meritoriously as a Private First Class, and then went to the School of Infantry West. After completing SOI, he was sent to 3rd battalion 5th Marines. Shortly after arriving, they set off on The 31st MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) in January of 2009. Soon after returning from this deployment, Juan learned he would go to Afghanistan.
On 10/23/2010 in the Helmand Province of Sangin, Afghanistan, Juan led his squad (twenty-four Marines and a Navy Corpsman) to meet with another squad from his platoon to investigate a compound of interest. On route to the location, Juan stepped on a thirty pound pressure plate made of wood so that the IED could not be discovered by the metal detector. The blast launched Juan fifteen feet into the air which immediately severed both of his legs above the knees. He was medevaced to a field hospital where the remaining part of his right arm was amputated above the elbow. In addition, both of his ear drums were ruptured and Juan suffers from severe PTSD. He has had twenty-four surgeries to date.
Juan has received multiple awards including the Purple Heart Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with star, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, NATO ISAF Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with star.
Juan loves to play the drums. He once played for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd in front of 5700 people at Madison Square Garden. He currently lives in Temecula, CA with his lovely wife and daughter, Alexis and Victoria.
Your support of The Wounded Marine Fund will help CPL Juan Dominguez, USMC Ret. and other combat wounded Marine amputees regain their independence. Please learn more about our organization and ways to donate at TheWoundedMarineFund.com.

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Sgt. Nick Kimmel

Nick grew up in a small town, Moses Lake, WA. He dreamed of playing baseball in college, but was only offered a partial scholarship. Because he did not want to accrue tremendous debt with student loans, Nick followed his friends’ advice and spoke to a USMC recruiter. In September 2008, shortly after high school, Nick joined the United States Marine Corps and started boot camp in San Diego, CA.
After graduating MCES (Marine Corps Engineer School) in May 2009, Nick received orders to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) in Okinawa, Japan. In May 2010, he and his company were sent over to Combat Logistics Battalion 3 deployed to southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Upon arrival, Nick’s platoon gave direct support to 2nd Battalion 1st Marines. When this deployment ended, he was sent straight back to 9th ESB and volunteered for their deployment to Afghanistan. On November 11th, 2011, Nick returned to Afghanistan.
On December 1, 2011, Sgt. Nick Kimmel and his squad were constructing a guard post for the patrol base near Sangin, Afghanistan. Nick stood on the forks of the machinery to ensure the roof was square on the guard post. He then jumped down and landed directly on a forty pound I.E.D. This blast resulted in the amputation of both legs above the knees and his right arm above the elbow. After jumping down, the next thing Nick remembered was waking up on December 4th in Bethesda, MD at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with just his left arm remaining.
During the entire month of December, Nick underwent surgery every other day. On January 1, 2012, he left Walter Reed to go to the Navy Medical Center in San Diego to continue his outpatient treatment and physical therapy. Nick was told it would take about 13-15 months to walk with prosthetics- he did it in seven months.
Although Nick only has one limb left, he still enjoys his old hobbies including rock crawling, racing trucks and golfing. He also intends to earn a degree in mechanical engineering to be used towards a career in research and development with a vehicle off-road or a prosthetics company. Sgt. Nick Kimmel advises others, “it’s something that happens and you can’t look back…it is what it is – you can’t change it, you can only move forward … You can’t let anything stop you if you want to do something, you must strive to do it.”
By donating to The Wounded Marine Fund, you will help support heroes like Sgt. Nick Kimmel, USMC, Ret.