On the morning of January 19, 2010, while serving in the Arghandab River Valley outside of Kandahar, Afghanistan, U.S. Army Lieutenant Derick Carver and his unit met with local teachers and elders to discuss reopening a school that the Taliban had rigged to blow with IEDs. Along with the Afghan Army, LT. Carver and his platoon moved forward to establish themselves in the school for clearance operations to prevent further targeting. However, on their way to the school, the Taliban launched a complex ambush using a daisy-chain of 107mm rockets and home-made explosives. Derick suffered multiple injuries including the loss of most of his right thigh, multiple fingers becoming fused or partially amputated, and the amputation of his left leg. The attack also resulted in PTSD and reoccurring complications.
After multiple initial lifesaving surgeries, Derick was finally transported to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he spent the rest of his 13-month recovery. During this time, Derick underwent almost 50 surgeries, over 50 blood transfusions, and five plasma transfusions, later opting for active recovery. Following inpatient recovery, Derick returned to duty and assumed the role of AS-3 for the 4th Ranger Training Battalion, becoming the “1 legged Ranger Instructor” before retiring in 2012.
Derick was born in Millington, Tennessee, but spent most of his childhood in Southern California. Raised by his mother, Derick was very active in high school sports, where he played baseball, football, and track and field. As the first in his immediate family to attend college, Derick went to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, before transferring to Eastern Michigan University.
In 2007, Derick commissioned into active duty, spending years training in various courses such as Officer Basic Course II, Infantry Officer Basic Course, and Mechanized Leader Course, until his deployment in 2009.
Since his injury in 2010, Derick has stayed active competing in CrossFit competitions and winning the U.S. and World’s Strongest Disabled Man in 2017. Derick has competed in the Arnold Sports Classic, where Arnold named him the “most inspiring Veteran” he has met. He plans to continue his education by looking into a graduate program in the winter. As Derick continues to pursue his dreams, the Gary Sinise Foundation looks forward to building Derick a specially adapted smart home to ease his daily struggles and mobility needs around the house.