I’m Jonathan Wheeler, in October of 2013, I became the Military Liaison for Battle-Buddy Info, sharing this unique Directory of Resources with everyone I come in contact with. I want to see other vets get the help they desperately need and deserve.
This is my story:
I joined the military because I was from a broken home and my mother didn’t have the resources to send me to college. I was a product of abuse, neglect and low self esteem. After I finished boot camp I went to Hospital Corpsman School in Great Lakes Illinois, and for the first time I can remember, felt like I was a part of something important. What I didn’t know then, is that people who come from broken and abusive families are more likely to have a career that is therapeutic or helpful in nature, like a social worker or a nurse. I spent the next four and a half years with the Marines wherever they would go to fight, help, or just police individuals from harming themselves or others; places like Haiti, and Bosnia.
In 1998, I felt like a change, so I joined the Coast Guard, instead of re-enlisting in the Navy. I wanted to do law enforcement, but low and behold, God intervened with His plan, and I became a Medic and Aviation Maintenance Technician. I guess I am just destined to help people. I kind of like that job anyway.
In 2001, I met my wife, and married the following year. We now have two beautiful boys Maeson and Treyce. After we married I joined the National Guard, and deployed as a Medic to Iraq in January 2004.
During that deployment I had 9 concussions from IEDs. My second mission in June 2006 was different. I had 12 more concussions of blasts closer than 50 meters, and a 240mm rocket attack that hit at 25 meters distance while sitting in the chow hall eating breakfast at FOB Kalsu, 50 miles south of Baghdad.
I don’t remember anything after the initial blast, only what my buddies told me. I later woke up in the Green Zone, with a 2” diameter hole from the outside of my right hip making an 8” wound track that glanced off my hip bone and nicked the sciatic nerve. In addition, I also had a piece of ¼ inch rebar about 6” long sticking out of my right ankle. During surgery they removed all the metal out except for a tiny piece that still causes problems. I had two lacerations on my skull and a 4mm fracture on the frontal lobe.
I spent the next month and a half in my unit TOC; I came back from Iraq in September 2007. It’s been a long journey from the battlefield to the home front; I’m improving each day. I have a limp, I stutter from the TBI, experience migraines, and have some short term memory loss. I commonly have panic attacks and bursts of anger when sitting in traffic, or watching politicians on TV.
In March of 2013, I started a Texas chapter of a charity in Orlando, called Fairways for Warriors. The charity helps disabled veterans and their family’s fellowship through learning or in some cases relearning to play golf with their disabilities. My Battle-Buddy work as the Military Liaison is helping me fulfill my goal to see vets and Wounded Warriors transition with resources.
Jonathan Dean Wheeler