AW2 Soldier SFC Jarrett Jongema was featured yesterday on DoD’s Wounded Warrior Diaries, which aims to share the stories of American servicemembers who have been wounded in combat and have won battles on the road to recovery. During SFC Jongema’s video he discusses his incredible survival and recovery from a massive car bomb that killed two and injured eight of his fellow Soldiers while on a security mission near Baghdad International Airport on September 18, 2004:
The force of the explosion blew Jongema out of the vehicle’s turret and threw him more than 50 feet away, where he was impaled on a razor-wire fence. He then bounced to the other side of the fence on the exposed side of the overpass. While hanging from the overpass, Jongema was shot several times when the group began to take fire…
Jongema said he has undergone 36 surgeries and a large amount of plastic surgery because he didn’t want anyone to know that he was injured.
“You really can’t tell I’m injured unless maybe I take [my] shirt off,” Jongema said. “I had phenomenal plastic surgeons. And that should say something about the military’s medical efforts. Look how well they’re able to put people back together.”
His entire healing process has been about maintaining and trying to get back to as normal a life as possible.
“If I can’t do something, I’ll let you know it,” he said. “As with every soldier, if there’s something that we can’t do, we’ll let you know it. But for the most part of us, those of us who are wounded and want to stay, we just want to continue to drive on. We just want you to support us with what we want to do, and at the same time understand the challenges we may have to face both physically and mentally.”