More Good News From Iraq
Sergeant Joseph Bozik - Update 2

Specialist Garriga and Corporal Martinez - Soldiers That You Should Know

I had planned on putting this up on Wednesday.  After seeing one of their stories on ABC World News Tonight on November 7th, I decided to post it today.  After all, it's rare that the Main Stream Media picks on a story like these.

Sarah sends this article from the Houston Chronicle about Specialist Garriga.

Soldier defies the odds as burns slowly heal

After crash, he had a 1-in-100 chance to live

By JOHN W. GONZALEZ FORT SAM HOUSTON - He endured dozens of surgeries and was unable to eat for months, but U.S. Army Spc. Gabriel Garriga has beaten abysmal odds to survive the severe burns he sustained in a fiery Humvee crash in Iraq last year.

Sixteen months into his slow recovery, the 20-year-old soldier is happy to be alive, cherishing life's simple pleasures. He relishes visiting with family from Illinois, taking walks, eating what he wants and playing video games on his Xbox.

Garriga's mother, Gisele, hasn't left him since he arrived at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio in July 2003. After 29 surgeries, he's feeling better, but he's not his old self. And he's well aware he never will be the same old "Gabe."

Fourteen months of hospitalization for severe burns and two months as an outpatient have sped by for Garriga, who credits Army medics in Iraq, Germany and Texas with his unexpected survival.

Garriga, in turn, is credited with helping motivate other injured soldiers. Officials at the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research burn center described Garriga as an inspiration for badly burned troops of the war. He is among 1,300 soldiers with Iraqi war injuries who have been treated at Brooke, but Garriga stands out because of his unusually long stay, his youth and his positive outlook, officials said.

"Spc. Garriga has been an outstanding role model ... and has been through so much and keeps on going. His mom, Gisele, is a saint," said spokesman Nelia Schrum....

Sus sends this article from about Corporal Martinez.

Soldier Uses His Scars To Assist Others

October 28, 2004 WASHINGTON - Go ahead. J.R. Martinez doesn't mind if you ask him about the scars on his face, head, neck, arms and hands. He knows how he looks to others. The 21-year-old U.S. Army corporal was so horrified the first time he looked at himself in a mirror that he stopped eating, refused to speak to anyone and seriously considered killing himself.

He has had 27 surgeries - the longest lasted 11 hours - in the 18 months since a land mine planted in Kabala, Iraq, turned him into a human fireball and trapped him inside the Humvee he was driving. His buddies finally pulled him out, and his sergeant cradled his head in his hands like he was a baby, rocking him back and forth, telling him that he was going to be all right.

All Martinez could do was scream: "My face! My face! My face!" Each time he would try to touch his face, his sergeant would swat his arm away. When they loaded him onto a Black Hawk helicopter, Martinez passed out. He woke up three weeks later.

Now he uses his scars to help other soldiers. "To catch people's attention," he said. "I am so confident that if you will sit down and talk to me, that you will not notice the scars anymore. You will see that I am still a human being, that I have a sense of humor and like to go and have a good time."

Martinez is a spokesman for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, a McLean, Va.-based organization founded last spring by Roger Chapin, a West Coast businessman who has created several nonprofit veterans support groups dating to the Vietnam War...

Be sure to read both of these amazing stories.

[Read about other people that you should know here.]