Marine builds a new life after suffering horrific war wounds
Homes for Our Troops to build family house in Cottonwood
Cpl. Jordan Maynard ordered his men to apply tourniquets to the bloody stumps where his legs and feet had been a few seconds earlier.
A distressed corpsman struggled without success to put an IV in his squad leader's arm. Maynard told him to calm down.
The Marine who spent his childhood in Kingman and now lives in Cottonwood then requested a bottle of water and waited to die.
The helicopter that could fly him to a second chance was 45 minutes away and Maynard thought he would lose too much blood.
Grievously injured, the suddenly legless corporal lay in the dusty earth of southern Afghanistan and let his training take over.
He continued to issue orders to his squad of 12, his corpsman and members of the Afghanistan Uniformed Police, AUP, who participate in foot patrols with the Marines.
On July 13, at the Kingman coffee shop his mother Angela Patterson owns, Maynard, 29, slowly and matter-of-factly recalled the circumstances that led to his injuries.
Failure to sweep
March 23, 2011. Maynard was in the fourth month of his second deployment to Afghanistan. He and other members of the Second Battalion, Third Marines were on patrol in southern Afghanistan's Nawa District in Helmand Province, the deadliest province in the war-ravaged nation, and with more than 1,000 villages and 1.4 million people, one of the largest.
Throughout the war, now in its 12th year, there has been a significant and fierce Taliban presence in Helmand. Consequently, U.S. and coalition forces have focused on the region.
"We had a cordon on a building," Maynard said. "We had it surrounded because we planned to use it as a patrol base for the night.
"I sent in my first fire team and AUPs to sweep for IEDs and evict any personnel. I stood in the doorway and saw that my guys hadn't swept it. They weren't using their metal detectors.
'What are you doing?' I shouted at them. 'Get back out and sweep.'"
Maynard paused for a moment and gathered himself before continuing.
"I back stepped on an IED. Four guys went in and they all missed it, thank God. I knew an IED went off. All I saw was the dust. I was lying on the ground, obviously, but I didn't know what had happened yet. I was concussed."
When the dust cleared, so did his head. Maynard, despite his horrific injuries, kept his poise and command of his men as he instructed them on what needed to be done to save his life.
"I told them to get my tourniquets on. One guy put the left one on, another guy put the right one on. The corpsman came up and was trying to place an IV.
"The platoon commander, he looked real distraught, told me the helo was on the way. I was fully engaged. I knew my legs were gone. I knew my arm was broke. The corpsman just couldn't stick a vein. I told him to calm down and find one. I felt myself getting woozy.
"The corpsman never did find a vein, so I asked for water. I had to get something in me so I just kept drinking water."
When the helicopter landed and fellow Marines carried him to it, Maynard gave everybody two thumbs up.
He was put into a medically induced coma on the helicopter ride and didn't wake up for three days. They would be the most eventful three days anyone ever slept through.
Maynard's legs were taken a bit at a time. At first, one was severed above the knee and one below the knee, but infections, such as gangrene, forced more surgeries.
These days, Maynard has four sets of prosthetics - two for walking, one for running and one for hiking.
Feeling the love
Homes For Our Troops builds homes for critically injured members of the military, mostly amputees.
The group is building the Maynard family a home in Cottonwood that will be constructed with his needs in mind.
"They've built something like 135 homes the past few years," said Maynard, who remains more in shock that he's got a home and newfound security for his family than he ever was by the IED that took his legs.
"I heard about them word-of-mouth," he said.
The Maynards were invited to attend a Homes For Our Troops conference in Boston and were accepted into the program while there.
The family chose Cottonwood for a number of reasons. The VA has a satellite office in Cottonwood and a VA hospital in nearby Prescott. The doctor who works with his prosthetics is in Phoenix, about 100 miles away.
Maynard was especially pleased with the presence of a veteran's center in Prescott.
"It's a really good place. They have mental health help and group therapy," he said. "It's very relaxing. It's a very cool place. I never experienced anything like it."
Maynard credits veterans of past wars, especially those who served in Vietnam, for the outpouring of support he's received from a grateful nation.
"The guys in Vietnam, they weren't treated very well when they came home, and I think America learned that was a bad mistake. It's because of them that we get treated pretty well," he said.
Maynard joined the Marines for two reasons: To serve his country and to establish a means to support his family.
Despite injuries that altered his life forever, Maynard, though reserved, has an upbeat attitude. He remains a patriot and connected to every man and woman who has served. Indeed, he once harbored hopes of returning to active duty - to Afghanistan - to finish what he started.
"I'm glad to be alive," he said. "I have never felt sorry for myself. Not for one minute. During my recovery period I saw guys worse off than me. Triple amputees, guys whose amputations didn't leave them enough room for a prosthetic.
"I think I can speak for most of us when I say when you go into the military, especially the infantry, you're willing to lay your life on the line. You don't want to die, of course, but you know there's a good possibility you will.
"I lost my legs, but I'm alive. That's more than I could ask for."Aug. 1, 4-8 p.m.
Honoring: Sgt. Jordan Maynard, wife Jennifer and son, Jay: $10 per person ($7 for kids under 8). Sauce with or without meat with Salad, Garlic Bread, Dessert. At Brandi's Kitchen, 660 E. Mingus Ave., Cottonwood
Contributors: Food City, VFW 7400 Ladies Auxiliary, Verde Valley Moose Lodge 1449, American Legion Post 135 and Larry Wascek. For information, call Pam Van Winkle at (928) 300-6968.