Face of Defense: Wounded Soldier Hopes to ‘Pay It Forward’By Elaine Sanchez
Brooke Army Medical Center
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Jan. 22, 2014 – It took a devastating loss in Afghanistan for an Army officer to find his new calling.
Army Maj. Will Lyles walks on a treadmill at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Jan. 15, 2014. Lyles, who was injured in Afghanistan in 2010, is hoping to “pay it forward” as a doctor. U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields
Maj. Will Lyles, a bilateral amputee, is preparing night and day so he can ace the entry exams for medical school and become a doctor. It’s a path this athlete and Special Forces soldier never would have dreamed of just a few years earlier.
“I feel like being a doctor would allow me to continue to serve in the best possible way,” said Lyles, who had just stepped off a treadmill at the Center for the Intrepid here. “It’s my way of paying it forward after countless nurses, doctors and case managers [from Brooke Army Medical Center] worked so tirelessly to help me.”
From an early age, Lyles said, he aspired to be a professional baseball player. He secured a baseball scholarship to Virginia Military Institute, but a shoulder injury put a swift end to that dream. After college, Lyles decided a military career would put him on the right track. He joined the Army in 2003, and deployed twice to Iraq as an infantry officer.
Always striving for excellence, Lyles was accepted into the Special Forces Qualification Course in March 2009. “I wanted to work with the best of the best -- the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” he said.
After graduation in April 2010, Lyles was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., and soon deployed to Afghanistan. That summer, Lyles and his unit were en route to a key leader engagement in an Afghan village when they came under heavy insurgent fire on the outskirts of town. Lyles headed up a hill to assess the situation. It wasn’t until he was moving back down that he stepped on an improvised explosive device....
As for what happened, and his amazing journey since - go here.