HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, GA (Nancy Gould) – Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg is a proven warrior— as a weapons squad leader on the battlefield with fellow Rangers from the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment— and off the battlefield as an advocate for those with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), like the one he received in 2009 when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) injured him during a firefight.
He was recognized for his heroism by commanders, fellow Rangers, friends and Family members at his retirement ceremony at Truscott Air Terminal on Hunter Army Airfield, Aug. 20. He was previously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor for his brave actions.
He has also been in the National spotlight for his sacrifice and service, including recognition from President Obama as he sat next to Michelle Obama at a State of the Union Address.
Brigadier Gen. Richard Clarke, Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the former 1st Battalion, 75 Ranger Regiment commander, also praised the warrior he came to know almost 10 years ago.
“He was a great Ranger,” Clarke said. “He was funny, warmhearted and a natural leader. He didn’t fear those who had rank. He was the one who approached my wife at a battalion function and asked her to dance. He was loved by everyone and needless to say, my wife’s favorite Ranger.”
Remsburg sustained the TBI on his 10th combat rotation with his squad from the 1st Battalion, Oct. 1, 2009, during combat in Afghanistan. The mission was successful but it claimed the life of fellow Ranger, Sgt. Robert Sanchez and nearly killed Remsburg.
Nine of the enemy combatants were killed and a large weapon cache was destroyed, but the explosion gravely injured Remsburg and threw him into a canal. He was rescued and airlifted to Kandahar Air Base, then to Bagram Airfield for surgery. After that, he was transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Germany for two weeks of treatment where he remained in a coma. He was eventually treated at the James Haley Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa, Fla. and remained there for three and a half months before he started to regain consciousness.
After 15 months of hospitalization, Remsburg became an outpatient and rented an apartment in Tampa with a caregiver. He continued his daily occupational, physical, vision and speech therapies at the Tampa VA Center and now lives near his father in Arizona.
At the retirement ceremony, his father, Craig Remsburg, stood with Cory as he spoke about leaving the only job he’s had since high school.
“I don’t want to retire,” said the Ranger, ”but it’s time.”
The senior Remsburg said Cory is ready to move forward to the next chapter of life. He wants to ‘pay it forward,’ complete his mission, and make the path easier for other TBI casualties.
“He wants to encourage the injured to work hard to recover and never give up,” said his father, adding that Cory’s recovery requires hours of grueling therapy during the week and bike riding on weekends.
“Cory gets a lot of requests to speak to other traumatic brain injury casualties and other groups,” he said. “His message to them is, ‘you can recover; you’re not defined by your injury.’”