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Sgt. Jack Durgala, a Marine with Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, Wounded Warrior Regiment, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, speaks to Marines from Student Administrative Company, School of Infantry, about his injuries here May 29. Durgala and five other wounded warriors spoke to the Marines about staying motivated after an injury.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

Marines inspire students

4 Jun 2008 | Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

Six Marines with the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, Wounded Warrior Regiment, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, visited injured Marines with the Student Administrative Company, School of Infantry, June 29. 

The wounded warriors visited the Marines to discuss the injuries they received while deployed to motivate the Marines who were injured during training.

The young Marines were shown the reality of how much worse off they could be. The sprain or hairline fracture received during training didn’t compare to the wounded warriors’ injuries resulting in the total loss of use of an arm, needing a shunt to relieve fluid around the brain or constant pain for the rest of their lives.

Sgt. Terrance James, 2nd squad leader, with the wounded warriors said he never regretted his decision to join the Marine Corps, even after his injuries. He left the Marine Corps for a short period of time, but quickly re-enlisted. 

“I got out of the Marine Corps in 2005 and came back in 2006,” James said. “I don’t regret going back into the Marine Corps. I only regret getting out.”

James also spoke to the Marines about staying motivated through their injuries. He told the junior Marines to keep going and not get discouraged. Nobody in the room was drafted into the Marine Corps and even though it seems tough right now it pays off in the long run, he said.

One of the hardest questions posed to the Marines was ‘what has been the most defining moment in your career?’

Sgt. Carlos Robayo stood up and began to talk about the fire fight that injured him and killed one of his corporals.

At the funeral, he carried the casket. Tears welled up in his eyes as he told the Marines his defining moment was not in that battle, but after the funeral.

“The biggest thing was the parents coming up to me and saying ‘thank you,’” he said, pausing momentarily looking away from the Marines to gain his composure. “I didn’t think I deserved any thanks. I felt like I had failed the parents by not bringing their son back alive. All they knew was I was taking care of the Marines out there, and I took care of their son the best I could.”

The students had quite a different outlook on their injuries after hearing the wounded warriors’ stories.  

“It’s really motivating to see them here today, especially Sgt. James,” said Pfc. John M. Torres, a Marine with the Student Administration Company. “I’ve seen him at the hospital a few times. Seeing him try to get back into the fight really motivates me.”