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Wounded Body Warrior Spirit (Cpl. Anthony McDaniel)

Cpl. Anthony McDaniel lost both his legs and his left hand to an improvised explosive device in Aug. 2010. Now McDaniel is pushing his mind and body to the limit as he competes against other Wounded Warriors in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga)

Cpl. Anthony McDaniel sits sprawled on the grass in a pair of red sweatpants and Air Jordans. His smile is genuine and his laugh contagious as he quotes comedian Kevin Hart with one of his track coaches. At first glance, McDaniel looks like any other carefree young man his age. But underneath the sweatpants and sneakers lie two prosthetic legs and his left arm is amputated just before the wrist; but in his eyes lie the determination and drive that pushed him to be more than just an injured Marine. McDaniel is a Wounded Warrior.

Cpl. Anthony McDaniel's prosthetic legs lie on the grass while he tries out his running-specific prosthetic legs during track practice for the 2012 Marine Corps Trials at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 14. McDaniel was injured in 2010 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while deployed as an artilleryman. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers)

Cpl. Anthony McDaniel's prosthetic legs lie on the grass while he tries out his running-specific prosthetic legs during track practice for the 2012 Marine Corps Trials at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 14. McDaniel was injured in 2010 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while deployed as an artilleryman. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers)

Aug. 31, 2010, McDaniel, a native of Pascagoula, Miss., set out on a route clearance patrol as an artilleryman in Kajaki, Afghanistan. While on the patrol, McDaniel identified an improvised explosive device, but before he could notify his squad, it detonated. Four days later, McDaniel gained consciousness in Germany missing his legs and a hand. For many, this would mark the end of an active life, but for McDaniel, it was only the beginning.

More than a year later, McDaniel is joining more than 300 other wounded Marines, veterans and allies to compete in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. McDaniel will be competing in wheel-chair basketball and trying hand-biking for the first time. McDaniel took some time out of his busy training schedule to share a little bit about what defines him as a person.

What motivated you to push yourself physically to compete?

The people who are around me on a daily basis helped me get out of my shell, that isolation, and try new things. You go out and try it and you like it, so you stick with it.

How was hand-biking for the first time?

It wasn’t too difficult. The hardest thing is not leaning back or you’ll fall back. Then you’ll look kind of crazy trying to push yourself back up.

You brought your new running-specific prostheses, but decided to do hand-biking instead. Why did you make that decision?

I figure that wheel-chair racing fits me better than those actual legs right now. But it’s just like everything – it just takes getting used to. I’ll continue to work on them.

How difficult is it to walk with your prosthetic legs?

Balance is the main thing with prosthetics – and your core. If you have a weak core, it’s going to be really hard to walk.

 Which competition in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials are you most serious about?

Wheel-chair basketball is my main thing. My goal is to make the Paralympic team for wheel-chair basketball.

Do you think of yourself as ‘wounded’?

No, not really. I might have a left wrist amputation and a bilateral amputation, but it’s still not going to stop me from doing what I want to do.  You don’t look at yourself as wounded or disabled, but at the things you can do.

 What advice would you give to other wounded Marines and service members?

Just because you got injured, your life doesn’t have to stop. You may not be able to do the exact things you used to, but you can do similar things, and have a lot of fun doing it. As long as you don’t want to stop yourself, you can do whatever you want to do.

How has it been getting to know other Wounded Warriors?

Marines stick together, but with Wounded Warriors, it’s a real knit bond. We share the same situations and circumstances. You can’t really explain it. It’s something special.

What are your goals for the future?

By the end of the year, I’ll be moving to Florida and going to college to get my accounting degree. Eventually, I want to open my own car wash in Florida. But physically, I’ll still be doing wheelchair basketball and hope to get my own track bike so I’ll be able to ride around with my son when he learns how to ride a bike one day.

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18 Responses

  1. Cmckeesport1 says:

    Brother Marine…I only have Stage 4 cancer…you make me soooo proud….I’ve been through alot…chemo radiation operations but you inspire me…..we will both make it….remember….We are Marines….SempreFi….

  2. Wandavelez says:

    As a mother of a Marine, I salute you, and I have to say you marines are tough guys, and althought I do not know you I love all you marines, keep your spirits high and your heart full of joy.

  3. Claudio Alpaca says:

    Thanks for your courage, that learn us how live. You are a daily heoe, us you support an handicap with serenity, a serenity which come by god. Thanks again  claudio alpaca

  4. Jacobhoag says:

    Hell yea Mc.D you’re an inspiration for all.

  5. Momma541 says:

    This young man served with my son, they’re friends. THIS is a hero.

  6. Sgt says:

    Now this is what I call news worthy. Here stands a hero who, despite his sacrifices, fights through to something better. This is what it means to earn the title Marine.
    Semper Fi, brother.

  7. Joekeke84 says:

    I recently got out of the Marine Corps. I was with 1st Battallion 11th Marines RBE platoon when Cpl McDaniel was overseas. I remember the day I heard the news about what happened to Cpl McDaniel. I was shocked and in awe. It’s always hard to hear about a brother getting hurt. Yesterday I was on my iPhone on Facebook and saw a piece in an article about Cpl McDaniel. It has been so hard to get used to civilian life. I struggle with PTSD everyday, but after seeing this article Cpl McDaniel has given me hope. I am ecstatic how Cpl McDaniel is so positive and will keep you in my prayers brother. You my friend are are true hero and I strive to be a positive as you one day. Semper Fidelis

  8. Mtaylo64 says:

    This is one motivating Corporal. 

    Semper Fi.

  9. Heather says:

    This is my neighbor and he is a young hero! He always has a smile on his face and always has time to say,”Hey.” I love his attitude.
    A Hero lives next door.

  10. Levettejones says:



  11. Nancy says:

    Thank you for your sacrific, u r a true warrior for sure! Not to mention role model and inspiration,  Semper Fi, Nancy Ray

  12. says:

    God Bless this Brave You g Warrior! Thank you for your service to our Country! I’m a proud father of Marine in 3/2 out of Jacksonville N.C. And a Ret. FDNY Lt. Who was there on 9-11-01 Thank You Cpl. McDaniel

  13. Warrior Spirit without a doubt!!!  Cpl. McDaniel is an inspiration to us all, Semper Fi!

  14. Norma says:

    You are a true hero!  You are an inspiration to so many.  God Bless you!  Thank you for serving our country. 

  15. Sharon Gaffin says:

    U r amazing, but that is what a Marine is. My grandson will b 19 on Sunday. He has been at Parris Island since Jan. 17th. I miss him so much, but I’m so very proud of him. He loves what he is doing. This is swim week for him. He feels he is following the path God has paved for him. I pray ur dreams will come true . It’s people  like u that r our HEROS. I know u will never give up. U have proven that. God Bless you. SEMPER FI

  16. Kb1056 says:

    You are an inspiration Cpl McDaniel – thanks for your service – and this country owes you so much more than can be repaid. Semper Fi.

  17. Curtis says:

    Semper Fi,Marine..Keep you head up and go for it…