Corporal Christopher Van Etten joined the Marine Corps in July 2009. Upon completion of basic training and the infantry training battalion, he was assigned to 1st Battalion 7th Marines, Charlie Company aka “Suicide Charley”. In 2012 Chris found himself heading out on his 2nd deployment, this time to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On June 13, 2012 Chris was conducting a dismounting night patrol with his unit when his squad-mate stepped on an IED. Chris sustained multiple injuries from a secondary blast when he stepped on an IED while attempting to help the Marine who had been injured from the initial blast. Those injuries resulted in Chris losing both his legs, one above the knee (AK) and one below the knee (BK).
As extensive as his physical injuries were, within 2 months he began walking in his prosthetic and out of rehab within a year. Despite this relatively quick physical recovery time, however, the mental trauma still lingered. He would battle depression and insomnia, along with the survivor’s guilt that stemmed from his time deployed. It would be nearly two years before he would begin to start making changes for the better.
Chris than began to lean on his family, friends and the gym to help him take back control of his life. He began to see his injury as a gift he could use to inspire others, and his second chance at life as a way to honor those that were lost. His goal is to share his story in hopes of motivating others to keep moving forward, so that they know they are not alone. He has pursued opportunities to tell his story through multiple outlets such as working with the Jockey apparel company as well as portraying the role of Chet Driscoll on General Hospital.