Reuniting Marines Wounded on the Battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan
By Vince Noble
Major USMC, Purple Heart and Company Commander
It is hard to describe the positive impact made on the lives of the wounded Marines that have been able to participate in the Bar X Project. I have had the distinct opportunity to participate in two of these trips and have witnessed first-hand the tremendous impact on the Marines that have taken part in this special weekend. I was asked to attend by James Moran as a mentor to the younger Wounded Warriors.
Having been wounded in combat myself, I can say that one of the strongest factors in my ability to surpass my injuries was and continues to be the bonds forged with my brothers-in-arms that endured similar circumstances. Unfortunately, many Marines lose touch with their brothers when they leave active duty, especially when they leave the military because of wounds sustained overseas. The Bar X Project presents a very unique and substantial opportunity to reunite Marines that endured traumatic experiences together on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The peacefulness and tranquility of Montana combined with the camaraderie over the long weekend serve as a perfect combination to assist in the healing process for our Marines that have endured so much.
As a former company commander, I was extremely grateful to the Bar X Project for bringing out two of my Marines that were injured in Afghanistan and for planning to bring out two more Marines this upcoming September. There are immediately visible and long term impacts made in reuniting wounded Marines and letting them know they are not alone as they navigate life after the Marine Corps. The same bonds that were forged on the battlefield exist in life after active duty – this is one the fundamental tenets of the Bar X Project.
In addition to camaraderie, fly-fishing and other activities, the Bar X Project serves to further educate our Marines on the vast opportunities that exist in the civilian world and show them how Marines that have endured similar horrors have prevailed in civilian life. Mentors speak to the Marines on topics such as: job opportunities, current events, opportunities in the Marine Corps reserves, navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs, Post 9/11 GI Bill, along with relaying stories of other Marine success stories from men that have been seriously wounded, survived PTSD, etc.
It is an honor to participate as a mentor with the Bar X Project. Thank you all for what you do and for making positive changes in the lives of our Marines who have selflessly served our nation.