070: Wade Spann, Marine Combat VeteranMarch 22, 2016 by Cigars and Sea Stories | 1 Comment
On this episode of Cigars and Sea Stories, we welcome Marine combat veteran, Wade Span to the show. Wade served with 1st battalion 5th Marine Regiment deploying three times to Iraq; the initial invasion into Baghdad, in which his unit suffered the first casualty of the Operation Iraqi Freedom, Lt. Childers. On his second deployment he took part in the first invasion of Fallujah, Operation Vigilant Resolve. It was during this second deployment (June 13th, 2004), that Wade was wounded by an IED in a town called Al-Karma; injured by a shrapnel wound to the back of the head. He stayed in country and within a week was back out on patrols with the platoon. In the spring of 2005 Wade returned to the unit and deployed to AR-Ramadi. Returning in late June to prepare for discharge. After completing four years of active duty, he was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from the impact of the shrapnel during my second tour of duty.
“During my second tour, I was wounded by an IED (improvised explosive device), resulting in memory loss, concentration problems, migraine headaches, and physical disabilities. I was in Iraq outside of Fallujah on June 12, 2004, when my platoon was on a patrol looking for some insurgents who had been attacking our battalion the week prior. My vehicle was leading the platoon down a dirt road near the town of Al-Karma. I don’t remember the whole event because I was knocked unconscious, but was told that we ran over two 155mm artillery shells buried underneath the road. The blast was so massive that the HUMVEE behind mine had two Marines lose consciousness. I was pulled out of my burning truck by my platoon commander and dragged to safety by two fellow Marines. I was not aware of any injuries until my Corpsman found a shrapnel wound in the back of my head from the blast. Immediately, everyone from my HUMVEE was put in another truck and driven to Camp Fallujah Hospital for evaluation. I stayed in the hospital overnight and by the following week was back on patrol. I did not know about my TBI until after I was discharged a few years later.“ -Wade Spann
During his tenure at The George Washington University, Wade was very active in veteran issues on Capitol Hill and on campus. With the help of fellow veterans at GWU, he was able to get the school to dramatically change the treatment of veterans and successfully got the GWU Administration to agree to pay for the difference in tuition cost at the school and what the VA provides as well as a commitment to individualized veteran support on campus. Wade has testified twice now before House Veterans Affairs Committee on veteran suicide and on the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
Wade Spann currently works in the software industry as an account manager and works with veteran led companies in business development.
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