Native Texan Brian Aft joined the United States Marine Corps in May of 2007. On April 8, 2011, Aft struck an improvised explosive device while patrolling on duty in Afghanistan. Taking the brunt of the explosion, Aft suffered numerous injuries including the loss of his lower extremities, a fractured wrist and a punctured eardrum. He spent two years with a wounded warrior battalion before retiring from the Marines in 2013. Following his 6½ years of service, Aft returned to Texas with his bomb dog “Buckshot” and the two reside in McKinney. When Brian retired he wasn’t always the guy he is today. Like many wounded warriors, Brian struggled with drug abuse to cope with the demons and the pain.
One day, he decided he would no longer be weakened by the drugs and decided to change his life. Now Brian is active in the veteran community and those who know him can’t help but love his enthusiasm and love for life. In 2017, Corporal Aft was awarded the Spirit of a Hero Recipient. Spirit of a Hero is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing financial, moral, and community support to veterans of the United States armed forces. The following is Brian’s story in his words:
“I’m Cpl Brian Aft USMC. I enlisted and went to boot camp May 7 2007. I was stationed with 1st Battalion 10th Marines, 2nd marine division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, My unit deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in November of 2010. During the work up for deployment I was among a group of marines that attended IED Detector Dog school in South Carolina. Two weeks prior to changing over with our replacement unit we were conducting a foot patrol in the green zone of the Kajaki dam in Helmand province. While jumping across an irrigation ditch I triggered an IED which severed both legs above the knee.
“My fellow marines and corpsman immediately began treating my wounds and calling for a medevac. Between an hour and an hour and a half later a British helicopter picked me up and brought me to the trauma center at Camp Bastion. From there I was brought to Germany and then Bethesda, Maryland. I spent two years and some change in recovery and medically retired in august of 2013. Things were rough at first but with support from friends and family things greatly improved. I have a fantastic group of friends and a wonderful woman that loves me for some reason.”
During the video interview I asked Brian about his exercise routine and the many veterans events he participate in, including the U.S. Marine Corps 243rd Birthday Charity Ball coming up on November 10th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Denton. For tickets or sponsor tables, email Mark Roy at [email protected] or call (940) 395-0236. To purchase online, go to www.DentonMCL.org/store. If you would like to pay for a Marine to go to the ball, purchase online and then in the “Special Instructions” section put “Pay for a Patriot.” For more info on this event please click on www.dentonmcl.org/2018-marine-corps-ball