Georgia Marine shares war experience - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia Marine shares war experience

December 8, 2005

Americus -- More than 2,000 soldiers have died in Iraq since the war began, but there are also hundreds of others who have been injured. One South Georgia Marine who is now a double amputee is speaking out about his experience and how it's changed his life.

The war in Iraq has produced a new, younger generation of veterans. Many of them have returned home seriously injured. Lance Corporal Adrian Jones is one of them. An explosion took both of his legs, but it hasn't taken his spirit.

Just 12 weeks ago, 22-year old Lance Corporal Adrian Jones was in Iraq for his second deployment when a single blast of an improvised explosive device would change his life forever. "On the day of the explosion we were doing a routine convoy in the city of Rahmadi," Jones explains.

Of the five Marines in the Humvee, Jones was the most seriously injured. "The only thing that was really going on in my head was if everybody else was alright because at the time I didn't know that I was injured."

"When I tried to pull myself out of the vehicle that's when I discoved that I had almost completely lost my left foot, and I had shattered bones in my right foot."

"My first reaction was thanking God his was still alive. The legs he could replace. He can walk again, but I thanked God He spared his life," says his mother Gretta Watts.

After spending two months in the hospital Jones returned home. He says support from his family and his faith in God carried him through the initial shock of losing his limbs to the contentment he now has with relying a wheelchair to get around. "So many were not as fortunate, but we have a lot to be thankful for. A very lot to be thankful for," says Watts.

One thing Jones is thankful for is the use his hands. In Iraq he spent his free time completing artwork and drawing portraits for other young Marines; men and women who are now the new faces of America's veterans.

"A lot of people look at the older guys that are injured, but you still have guys that were injured that are veterans now that are 19, 20, and 21, that are all in my age range. A lot of people fail to realize that people are still over there getting hurt," Jones says.

Still, Jones says he's learned to accept his injuries and rely on his experiences to make him a stronger person. "I know that you can't change the past, so I just go ahead with it and try to live for tomorrow, instead of living in the past," Jones says.

Lance Corporal Jones will return to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D. C. Saturday to be fitted for his prosthetic limbs and go through another round of rehabilitation.

After he is released from the hospital Jones plans to return to Americus and go to college. He says he'd like to study either graphic design or music production.

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