Homeland Veterans Magazine June 2017

Page 22

Marine Finds New Life with Wounded Warrior Project

Once he re-established himself as a warrior with a will to live, he discovered he had a lot to offer to fellow service members in need.

By John Roberts

Carl Quaney has never shied away from jobs that require toughness. As a Marine, he patrolled hostile combat zones in Iraq, where his life was compromised daily.


hen he went back to the civilian world, he dealt with the heightened risk associated with being a police officer. Carl even worked his way up to federal agent status and patrolled the border between Mexico and the United States. While his fortitude was tested time and again, it was not until the invisible wounds of war began to surface that he found himself in the battle of his life – a battle he nearly lost one lonely Christmas Eve. Realizing he was in need of help, Carl resisted the stigma of tough guys asking for assistance and reached out to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Once he re-established himself as a warrior with a will to live, he discovered he had a lot to offer to fellow service members in need.

“My unit was performing routine maintenance when we received the call from the company first sergeant for all staff to report to the commons area,” he said. “It was there we watched the second plane strike the twin towers and their eventual collapse. We were told we were probably going to be mobilized to go to war.” “Clear My Browser History” Before their C-130 reached its destination from Kuwait to Ramadi, Iraq, Carl and his unit got a taste of what they were in for. “We had to do an evasive maneuver in the aircraft, and we kept hearing a bunch of pings,” he said. “We didn’t really understand what was going on, then one of my buddies was like ‘Is that people shooting at us?’ – that provided us with some nervous humor.” At their forward operating base, the Marines adjusted to accept rocket attacks and mortar fire as a new normal. Danger was at every turn, and unit morale eventually morphed into a grim mass resignation.

Today, he provides the assistance he received to others as a WWP staff member.

“We knew that more than likely we were going to die there,” Carl said. “We would talk about it. Not like in the movies where they sit around going ‘Take this letter to my wife.’

All-American Boy “My story starts the same as many teenage boys in America,” Carl said. “In high school in El Paso, I played football, ran track, and even ran for homecoming king at some point.

It was more along the lines of ‘Make sure they don’t find my body in a crazy position. And clear my browser history.’ We made jokes about it, but I did accept the fact that I probably wasn’t coming back home.”

My decision to join the military was pretty easy. My dad served in the Army in Vietnam. My brother joined the Army, so it just sort of ran in the family.”

The group’s morbid realization became an odd source of courage.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in July of 2000. Carl loved his job, but it was not until 9/11, he said, that he finally realized what it really meant to be a Marine.

“Once we grasped that concept, I think it made us all a little bit stronger,” Carl said. “We were no longer afraid of death. It allowed us to push through and be a little bit braver.”


HOMELAND / June 2017