Top of the World Ma – Camp Patriot

July 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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FORT LEWIS, WASH. – A little more than a year ago, the vehicle Mario Barragan was riding in was struck by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. The blast killed one Soldier and severely wounded Barragan and a fellow Soldier.

The moment the bomb detonated during the Battle of Kajaki Sofla on July 13, 2008 set into motion a series of events that changed the sergeant first class’ life.

Barragan, a Green Beret with 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., suffered blunt trauma to his face and received shrapnel in his right leg. The El Paso, Texas native lost more than 75 percent of his lower right jaw and chin, he has undergone eight surgeries to reconstruct his face. Additionally, Barragan has had three surgeries on his leg, and is scheduled to have more surgery on his face.

Despite these setbacks, Barragan accomplished a feat many do not dare: summit Mount Rainier.

“I never thought I would do this,” said Barragan after summiting the 14,410 foot volcano. “I was bed ridden for a couple of months (after the IED). I thought I was never gonna be able to walk again.”

I took (this climb) as a challenge to help me with physical therapy. I was in a wheel chair for three months, a cane for four months after that, so I never thought I would do this,” added Barragan.

Barragan, along with two other Soldiers injured overseas or in training, attempted the climb. Sergeant 1st Class Jesse Yandell of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and Capt. Reinaldo Gonzalez attempted the climb.

Gonzalez, who was paralyzed from the neck down after falling from an obstacle during the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, did not summit because he was concerned for the safety of others on the descent from the summit.

See more photos and story HERE


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