Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg Soldiers On With VA Support

Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg (left) shakes hands with Secretary Eric Shinseki before the State of the Union address.

Last night, after years of pain and rehabilitation, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg sat with the first lady as President Obama delivered the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. His father and caretaker, Craig, was next to him in the House gallery when the president began to talk about Cory’s injuries and long road to recovery.

“Cory is here tonight.  And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit,” said President Obama.

What followed was a moment that united all in attendance and Americans watching at home. As Cory stood up from his seat with the help of his father, the House chamber erupted with applause. The smile, thumbs-up and a wave from the soldier to the commander in chief was not only endearing – it was a shining glimpse into how far Cory had come.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him,” said Craig earlier on Tuesday as he and Cory visited VA headquarters to meet with Secretary Eric Shinseki. “There is a lot going on in America today, and if Cory’s story can add some inspiration to people’s lives … that’s what it’s all about.”

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Watch last night’s State of the Union address and the standing ovation Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg received from everyone in attendance at the 59:37 mark.

 

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Cory was already a Veteran of 10 deployments when a roadside bomb drastically altered his life. The U.S. Army Ranger was on a routine patrol on the outskirts of Kandahar, Afghanistan, when the blast from an improvised explosive device lifted him off the dusty road and threw him into a nearby canal where his fellow Rangers would later find him.

The right side of his skull sustained serious injuries and it wasn’t clear if Cory would make the medical evacuation, but he continued to fight for his life as he received emergency care continuously from the battlefield to medical facilities in the United States. He might have been down, but he wasn’t out.

Cory said it was important to meet with Secretary Shinseki while in D.C. to express his feelings about the care he received during his recovery – care that, according to Craig, made all the difference for his son.

The medical attention Cory received, chronicled by USA Today’s Gregg Zoroya in 2010, involved attempts at “jump-starting” his brain while he was comatose. The medical staff at the Tampa VA Medical Center tried everything they could to stimulate the Ranger into waking up. Through the emerging consciousness program they gave him commands, physical therapy and even played episodes of Scrubs on T.V.

The medical team’s unwavering efforts paid off, as Cory awoke three months later becoming part of VA’s 70% success rate of wounded warriors who fought back to consciousness.  And that’s when the work began to help Cory regain his mobility and speech.

Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg (center) and his father Craig meet with Secretary Eric Shinseki (right) at VA headquarters.

“Untouchable support and care,” Cory said of his stay at the Tampa VA Medical Center in Florida. “I’ve only been in Phoenix [VAMC] since April, but so far so good.”

Although he is wheelchair-bound and has trouble speaking, on account of the injuries he sustained, Cory is hopeful for the future. His long-term goals are to continue his rehabilitation and regain independence; and he seems to be well on his way to accomplishing these goals. Just two weeks before coming to D.C., he was training in Honolulu with his recumbent bicycle – now riding up to 16 miles at a time.

But getting better and becoming more self-sufficient are only part of his new mission in life. He also wants to make a difference in the lives of other wounded warriors by showing them that it is possible to rise above overwhelming odds.

“To those [wounded warriors] in the future – thank you,” he said with a smile. “To those in the present – follow me.”

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19 Comments to “Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg Soldiers On With VA Support”

  1. Bob Mulholland says:

    Thanks Cory for your service. This country must change its policy of sending the same troops to a war zone time after time. Ten deployments is beyond the Call of Duty.
    Bob Mulholland
    Chico, Ca
    101st Airborne (Vietnam 1967-68)

  2. Asa Hawkins says:

    THANKS, VIET NAM VET NAVY MEDIC 69-72

  3. frank gutowski says:

    Cory, thanks for your service. All I can say is thank God for the VA. The doctors in the VA hospitals really care. My doctor that I had before knowing about my VA benefits missed finding prostrate cancer. When I went to the VA hospital they found it and I am still alive. Congress please keep the VA funded and keep Cory and me alive.

    • charles e Cavallier US Army Retiree says:

      Cory thank you for your service to the great nation in the world. You are a winner. Keep the thumb up

    • Cory,
      Thank you for the tremendous sacrifice you made for our country. You are an inspiration to all Americans. May God Bless you and your family. Thank you for your service and dedication to the principles that make America great.

      Wayne Meluney, former Navy Hospital Corpsman and Vietnam Veteran 65-68

  4. Ed Miller says:

    Cory, thank you for your service as a Ranger, you did a great job. You also have shown all of us Viet Nam veterans that we all have done the best job we could do, we love our country with all our hearts. Recon 2/28 1st Div. 68/69

  5. Mark says:

    Hoorah – Rangers lead the way. Mark Brown, Sgt Vietnam Vet, Airborne, 1968-1971.
    Keep proving and leading the way Sergeant!

  6. Cory, I hope you will reach all of your health goals as soon as possible. I also hope that your inspiring journey wakes up our politicians to realize that support for our active duty military & veterans benefits & pay should never be decreased. Rather we who have sacrificed much for our country deserve all we have earned and more.

  7. Bill McGraw says:

    Korea ’69-’70 but I don’t feel so disabled anymore seeing Cory, lots of spirit there soldier.

  8. UstrAdeDayo says:

    Thank You For All Services.

  9. This is very informative matter.thanks for post

  10. Allan says:

    Ten times?? It should not be allowed even if voluntary!
    Thank you, God bless you.

  11. SFC Remsburg…you emulate every trait of an outstanding NCO! Your service to our country and fellow soldiers deserves the greatest of recognition. Thank you for your service. May our lord guide you further and further as you so gallantly work towards rehabilitation. You make us proud!!!

  12. Scott says:

    Thank you Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg. I wish you a speedy, heathly full recovery mind and body. God Bless you

  13. Tom Vargas says:

    SFC Cory, the 10 tours is amazing. You are a true American Soldier as you never gave up. Continue with your rehab buddy as it worked for me at the VA. TET Vietnam Vet 68-69, wounded 3 times and survived. Retired from the Army and enjoying life to the fullest, Hoorah

  14. Tom Vargas says:

    SFC Cory, 10 tours is amazing as you are a true American Soldier. Thanks for your service and hang in there buddy. TET Vietnam Vet 68-69, wounded 3 times and survived with rehab from the VA. Retired from the Army and enjoying life to the fullest.

  15. Genna Glazer says:

    Thank you for this story about Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg. I had never heard of him until I saw him on the State of the Union Address and I’m glad you are getting the word about him out there. His story needs to be told as does the story about his awesome recovery. The story about the medical care Cory received and the emerging consciousness program was inspiring too! Cory’s medical team as well as the VA system that helped him should be proud!