Just to refresh, our very own Bill Carlson left yeaterday with 3 Purple Heart recipients to go on a special 3 day hunt. Mellon Creek Outfitters is donating the hunts at no cost to all 3 recipients. Support US Armed Forces would like to help pay for travel expenses and their hunting licenses. If you want to partner with us, Click here to give toward helping a dream come true for these Purple Heart recipients.
Today we are featuring our third recipient, Marine Staff Sergeant Charles Mason Poe
My name is Mason Poe and I am a medically retired Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps.
I am the youngest of four children and of these four children my parents raised 2 boys which happened to both join the Marine Corps. Yes they were proud of our decisions (I hope anyway) however, my father being retired after 21 years from the Army, I am sure he always wanted one of us to join the Army. But as typical Marines we wanted to do something different. My older brother joined 5 years ahead of me and created big shoes for me to follow, and is currently still active duty and is an Infantry Officer Gunner (CWO 3).
I joined the Corps in June of 1999 after high school and after 7 months of schooling I was stationed in Yorktown, VA with 2nd Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST Co). I deployed several times, once in the Middle East and once in Europe with this company and was part of 9 Anti-Terrorism Operations. One of those operations while being in the Middle East was during the attack of USS Cole, I was part of Operation Determined Response.
Because of the terrorism attack on September 11th, my tour with FAST Company was shortened to 2 years and I was among 11 marines that were ordered for presidential security in Washington, DC at Marine Barracks as we now had to train the Marines with different security tactics as they protected the President of The United States and/or vital communications as the President traveled.
After serving my last year and a half at Marine Barracks I was honorably discharged in 2003. I then was hired as a full-time firefighter in my hometown of Dunn, NC. After being a full-time firefighter for 6 months I was recalled and volunteered to go to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I choose to do this as a single infantryman with no kids, in order to prevent a marine with a family from going reluctantly and being involuntary recalled.
I donned and cleared the uniform of the Marine Corps once again in January of 2004 and was assigned to Small Craft Company with 2nd Marine Division. I deployed to Iraq on January 20th 2004 and was on my 3rd deployment and first combat tour to Iraq. While a fellow squad of marines failed to respond and acknowledge their safety in a routine radio check, my marines and I deployed a react team to ensure their safe keeping in Haditha, Iraq. Once we ensured that the marines were good, we headed back to our COC and 4 insurgents detonated an IED directly under the humvee I was on. As the leading marine I am glad I sustained majority of the injuries and the men I was responsible for were able to walk away. One marine had minor back injury, one lost slight hearing, and one lost his middle finger. I made light of the situation and told the marine that lost his middle finger that it was a good thing, and he would no longer be able to flip anybody off. All other marines in the humvee suffered no injuries.
As I was blasted away from the Humvee my Kevlar was thrown from my head and was immediately unconscious. The Corpsman gave me a field trach and cleared my airway enough to resuscitate me. After being unable to fly to Germany from Baghdad due to sandstorms I was resuscitated once again. Once I arrived in Germany I was placed in a medically induced coma for about 30 days and underwent several surgeries on my legs, head, neck, back, and abdominals. With having these surgeries completed I had both legs shattered but intact, and no longer on life support thus, I was transported to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland and was there for approximately a month and underwent more surgeries. I then was medevaced to a hospital closer to my hometown and still underwent several surgeries to repair my legs and began a long recovery process. While being discharged as an impatient on July 23rd 2004, I was still a long way from being placed in service and completed 4 years of recovery and undergoing more surgeries throughout these years. I was in a wheelchair for approximately 1 ½ years before transporting to a walker. As I relied on a walker for several months I didn’t want to stop healing and was able to transfer my aide to forearm crutches. But I was still young and wanted to marry my current girlfriend, so I saw it only a possibility if I could walk her down the aisle without aide of anything. On December 17th 2005, I married the wonderful women that stood beside me and assisted me during the most trying times in my life.
Its funny people don’t believe in a higher being than anything on this planet (in my case, God). Doctors told my family and girlfriend at the time that I would not be able to walk or have children. I am currently walking with no aide and my wife and I are proud parents of a 4 year daughter.
I have received 60% malfunction from the Marine Corps along with 100% malfunction from the Department of Veterans Affairs. I have said malfunction for a reason, in a typical Marines mindset, he is not disabled, he just has malfunctions and will learn to adapt and overcome his new lifestyle.