By David Carter, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Sunday, May 3, 2009
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Lance Cpl. Matthew Bradford was nervous.
Twiddling a pen in his right hand to calm his uneasiness, the 22-year-old Marine on Friday shared a personal story of tragedy and perseverance with corpsmen at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka. In January 2007, Bradford was on patrol in Haditha, Iraq, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device.
The explosion severed his left leg. The damage to his right leg forced doctors to amputate it. Shrapnel ripped through his left eye, and the blast detached the retina in his right, leaving him completely blind.
He also suffered a broken right hand and shrapnel wounds to his intestines. Bradford said he spent three weeks in a medically induced coma and the next 18 months recovering. Since then, he’s traveled the globe, sharing his war experiences and his plans to stay on active duty in the Corps.