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U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jacob De La Garza joined the military in October 2003. De La Garza was initially stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, where he experienced three tours to Iraq with his unit. He was then transferred to Quantico, Virginia as a combat instructor.
In 2011, De La Garza was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan as his fourth and final deployment. On May 21, 2011, while on patrol, De La Garza was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast resulted in a left leg, below the knee amputation. He was immediately treated at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan and was transferred to Germany for four days until finally landing at Balboa Naval Medical Hospital in San Diego, California.
De La Garza was in rehabilitation for one and a half years before medically discharging from service in January 2013 because of his injuries. He has also been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the incident. Because of his commendable service, he’s earned numerous awards such as two Purple Hearts and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a “V” for valor. He currently lives in Edinburg, Texas with his wife, Priscilla, and their son, Jayden, 8, and daughter, Braelynn, 3.