2 East Tennessee Marines Wounded in Iraq

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

White Pine, Jefferson County (WVLT) - Tow local marines are injured after a roadside bombs explodes underneath their Humvee.

Corporal Bradley Walker is one of them. He's part of the Fourth Combat Engineering Battalion.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel spoke with Corporal Walker's father Thursday night.

The Walker family is very tight-knit, and they're using that strength to keep them strong emotionally during this very rough time in their lives. However, Mr. Walker says his son, Brad, is a fighter and will pull through for his family.

"He didn't have to go, but he volunteered," Walker said.

Brad Walker, 25 years-old, four and a half years in the Marine Corps -- but in one second his entire life has changed.

"Brad, he got the full brunt of the load," Walker said.

He was driving with three other Marines when his Humvee was hit with a roadside bomb.

"They told me he lost both of his legs from the knee down," Walker said.

Brad is a former athlete and a very active Marine. He's depended on his legs throughout his life. Now, it's time to adjust.

"They ask me how I'll cope with him losing his legs. I said... 'I'm gonna concentrate on his heart to his head'," Walker said.

While Brad lays in a hospital bed in Germany, his family checks in regularly.

"He was aware I was talking to him. They said his eyes popped open, and he lit up like a Christmas tree," Walker said.

Mr. Walker says Brad would look across the street at the ball field and watch the kids playing.

"He said, 'By me going over there, maybe one of these days one of them lil' fellows won't have to go," Walker said.

That makes Brad his father's hero.

"We got a lot to be thankful for, even though he did lose his legs," Walker said.

Like family, friends, and good neighbors, Mr. Walker says he's been on the phone or had visitors non-stop since he received the news. His wife passed away five years ago, and he says without this support system, this week would be un-bearable.

"It's just me and my boys and they're my world. I'd die for them in a minute and that's all I got to live for, you know?" Walker said.

The Walkers will fly to Maryland to see Brad at Bethesda Naval Hospital in just a few days. Then he'll be transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center. Another marine, Corporal Jorge Zapata, was injured in the explosion. He's recovering from a broken leg in Germany. He'll head home in a few days as well.


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