Hometown: San Diego, CA, currently in Washington DC
Date of Injury: 6/19/2004
Hospital: Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Unit: 293rd Military Police Company
Date deployed to Iraq: February, 2004
Location of Injury: Baqubah, Iraq near the police station.
List of Injuries: right arm and shoulder amputated, injuries include lung damage (contusion that turned into respiratory syndrome) and shrapnel internally.
In theory my life has moved well beyond the tragic event that befell me on 19 June, 2004. I have a new and successful career that consumes me; keeps me occupied twenty four hours a day and takes me on adventures around the country. I am in graduate school; I have a beautiful new condo in metro D.C. and I have a slew of friends who I trust and love that make me laugh. However, through the windows of my ‘new' life, each day I find myself at one moment or another looking back at my service in the military and my injury, wondering how different, easy, and wonderful my life would be like had I not become a product of the ravages of war. I could have gone to Yale. I could have branched ---, rather than MP and sat behind a desk doing war-fighter's errands. My list of ‘I could be doing...' is quite long. And through my best efforts to skew my vision at something other than the past, I am reminded of it every day and every day it tears at my heart, mind and soul.
Whether I watch the news and see that another suicide bomber has taken more life from the people I was trying to protect, whether I hear that another one of my friends and/or former comrades has died in the heat of battle, or whether I just feel a hint of phantom pain trickle down from my brain to my armless shoulder, I remember and I am conflicted. But, at the end of the day when I lay down to go to sleep with all of my modern comforts surrounding me, I am happy with who I am, and although my dark memories are inescapable, they are the fiber that shape the threads of my new life and I must accept them for what they are and persevere through them, no matter how painful they may be. My happiness would suffer otherwise.
I am involved and very active in the following organizations/activities:
Halfaker and Associates National Security Consulting Firm (Owner)
My company also works to provide jobs to wounded veterans with a consortium of other groups.
Wounded Warrior Project (Board Member) Vail Veterans Ski Program (Spokeswoman) Buddy Bowl Charity Event (Spokeswoman) Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee for OIF/OEF Soldiers and Families (Appointee)
Georgetown University Graduate Student: I am attending Georgetown University's Security Studies Program for a Masters in International Security Studies. I have completed 1 year and am starting my second year this fall.