“There’s something more I have left to give to the military,” said Spc. Joshua Budd as he recovered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2011.
SPC Joshua Budd
Lost left leg, damage to right leg, scars on forearms
Fort Benning, Georgia
“You’re going to fall a lot, and if you don’t learn how to fall properly, you’re going to get hurt,” Spc. Joshua Budd’s physical therapist told him the first time he tried to walk again. Spc. Budd, who lost his left leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2011, responded well to strict, drill sergeant-style guidance as he recovered at the Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.
It was there that Budd was introduced to the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) and his AW2 Advocate. He knew early on in his recovery that he wanted to remain on active duty, and he credits AW2 with helping him stay in the Army. “AW2 helped with the paperwork. Everyone is helpful, helping you figure out what you’re going to do,” said Budd. His AW2 Advocate also helped him with a variety of Army benefits, including successfully appealing his application for Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (TSGLI).
After the Boston Marathon bombing that left many runners with injuries similar to those sustained by AW2 Soldiers, Budd and four other recovering wounded Soldiers traveled to visit the victims. “Parents and doctors and nurses all tell you it’s going to be okay, but you don’t believe it until someone who’s been through it tells you it’s going to be all right,” said Budd of the importance of peer mentoring in the recovery process. Peer mentoring is a tool many wounded, ill and injured Soldiers use to encourage each other through recovery and rehabilitation.
Budd’s AW2 Advocate is still involved in his life, even after his return to duty last year. “She calls me every 90 days and checks up on me,” said Budd. “It feels good, because if I’m ever in a tough spot, I know there’s someone there to answer any questions or fight for me.”
In June 2013, Budd joined the Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Ga., where his role includes competing in shooting on the international stage. “I get to show the world that America’s the greatest country on earth,” he said.
Staying in the Army was a clear choice for Budd early in his recovery process, and he stayed in uniform through a special Army program called Continuing on Active Duty (COAD) after being found unfit for service by a Medical Evaluation Board. “There’s something more I have left to give to the military,” said Budd. “Whether that’s being a peer mentor to other wounded warriors or fighting in Afghanistan, it’s something I feel like I should be doing.”
Return to top of page
Return to the AW2 10th Anniversary page