Spc. Christopher Vining, of Pontchatoula, Louisiana, is serving in the Louisiana Army National Guard. He has been injured twice in Iraq. The first injury occurred in March of 2005, as he was responding to a roadside bombing that injured several of his fellow servicemen. He is a trained first responder and while in route to the bombing, his vehicle was hit. He sustained moderate injuries from which he recovered and was returned to duty.
Specialist Kyle Burleson deployed to Iraq in March of 2004. He was seriously wounded in action and tells of his experience in his own words.
"On the 18th of August 2004, while on patrol, we were engaged in a firefight by insurgents. I was the top gunner on a HumVee and was hit by enemy fire in my left cheek and the round exited out the right side of my neck. The fragments of the round and bone damaged my spinal cord, and I am paralyzed from my neck down (like Christopher Reeve).
First Lieutenant Jeffrey Adams of the 1088th Engineering Battalion of the Louisiana National Guards 256th Infantry Brigade, was deployed to Iraq in November 2004. In Baghdad, November 7, 2004, while following procedures involved with road clearance, an improvised explosive device (roadside bomb) detonated in very close proximity, amputating his left leg above the knee.He was airlifted to Germany and then to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington where he remained hospitalized until May 2005. It was discovered that his other leg was also broken in the explosion. He also has nerve damage in his right foot. First Lt. Adams has undergone 15 surgeries since his injury.
Corporal Matt Cole graduated from Mandeville High in 1999 and left for the United States Marine Corps two weeks later. Cpl. Cole was a Crew chief/gunner of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle, commonly known as an "AMTRAK". He first deployed to Kuwait in January 2003 in preparation for the invasion of Iraq. Cpl. Cole was attached to RCT 5, which was the first Marine regiment to cross the border. Cpl. Cole's second tour to Iraq, he was attached to RCT 2 stationed in Hadetha, Al Anbar Province
Lance Corporal Justin McLeese of Covington, Louisiana enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Covington High School. He wanted to join the Marines after the events of 9/11 and in his own words "it is an experience I want in my life".