Born in Chicago, Eddie grew up in the military in Seattle while his father served in the Air Force. The grandson of an Army WWII veteran, Eddie decided to join the US Marine Corps, calling it the most momentous experience of his life.
Eddie enlisted in October of 2000 and three months later graduated Infantry boot camp as a Rifleman. After two deployments to the Middle East in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, Eddie later joined the elite 1st Reconnaissance Battalion as a Recon Marine. Upon completion of the Basic Reconnaissance Course and Expeditionary Warfare Training, Eddie deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in February 2004.
On April 7, 2004, Eddie was riding in the lead vehicle of his convoy during a patrol in south Fallujah when insurgents ambushed his unit. During the intense firefight that followed, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) hit Eddie’s rifle and exploded, instantly removing his right arm below the elbow and his left arm at the wrist. Knocking his helmet and eyewear off, the blast also severely damaged his left leg, leaving his femur protruding from his thigh. Five other Marines were injured, and Eddie’s platoon commander was killed during the ambush.
Forty-five minutes passed between the explosion and the arrival of an evacuation helicopter. In those harrowing moments and despite his injuries, Eddie remained alert and calm; instructing his fellow Marines on how to apply the tourniquets to his own body before directing other Marines to safety and where to return fire. Once evacuated, Eddie took 40 pints of blood to stabilize his injuries.
After months of recovery, Eddie became first double amputee to return to active duty. He served as a hand-to-hand combat instructor at the Marine Corps’ Martial Arts Center of Excellence at Quantico until his retirement in 2006.
Even during rehabilitation, Eddie became known for his up-beat attitude. Eddie stated that he would join the Marines again “in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t trade it, even for my hands back.”
Since retiring, Eddie enjoys time with his wife, Alder, and three children. He has worked in the private sector in the defense industry as a consultant for the Institute for Defense Analysis.
The Gary Sinise Foundation looks forward to building Eddie and his family a home where they can be self-sufficient and in control of their own destiny.