Marine Corps veteran, Jared Rose, in his own words:
“I joined the Marine Corps in November of 2006 and became a Machine Gunner. I felt as if I had found my mission in life. In May of 2009, 2/8 Marines deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Khanjari. We all knew this was going to be a completely different ball game. We had multiple briefs on the enemy situation. 2/8 would be the “tip of the spear” heading into uncharted territory in the Helmand River Valley. We saw combat nearly every day. It seemed so likely that we would strike an IED, that it we joked about it. On August 2nd, 2009, I got hit by my first IED. I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and some bumps and bruises. I was knocked out for about 10 minutes.
6 weeks later, on September 29th,, my vehicle was hit by another IED. It cut our vehicle completely in half. The truck was thrown in a front flip motion and landed topside down about 20 feet from the blast. My gunner and dismount were severely wounded. My driver was trapped underneath the steering column, but luckily only suffered minor injuries. I was left with another TBI, some superficial shrapnel, and other minor injuries. My Battalion lost 14 Marines on that deployment, and many more were severely wounded. My life was forever changed.
I came home from deployment and was a different man. After being wounded and sent to wounded warrior battalion, I was on a pharmacy full of medications, I felt like a zombie. For the first time in my life I was out of shape. I joined the WAR (warrior athlete reconditioning) program and started cycling to get back in shape. As I started getting more fit, I started realizing that exercise was absolutely crushing many symptoms I was dealing with. My headaches retreated, I was able to sleep (better at least), my rage and anger were being put into the pedals or the weights…and my depression had retreated.
Then came my medical retirement from the Marine Corps: I spent less time exercising and lost the sense of community I had in the Corps. Invisible wounds such as depression, nightmares, and bouts of rage re-surfaced. I felt overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. I still feel incredibly guilty that I walked away with such minor injuries compared to the other brothers in my vehicle and those in my Battalion who fared worse than me.
After growing so isolated since leaving Active Duty, I found a new purpose in life when I joined Team Red, White & Blue. Team RWB has not taken away my problems, but it has given me a purpose, motivation, and the ability to serve as a leader right in my new community. I am now the Veteran Outreach Director for the NYC chapter. This role enables me to reach out to other veterans who I know are struggling, but may not be sure what to do. I’ve been down that road and know what to do: Join me on Team Red, White & Blue and turn to the power of community and exercise to fight through life’s challenges.”
Jared Rose completed the Ironman U.S. Championship on August 11th, 2012 in a time of 12:44. His is a story of sacrifice, resilience and determination. Semper Fi, Jared.