Carlos Leon Hero Story
When a recruiter came to Carlos’s high school in southern Florida, Carlos became enrapt. The more he learned about the Marines, the more he wanted to be one. He was sworn in to the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 16. After graduating high school, he was assigned to the third radio battalion in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. In 2004 he was deployed to Iraq.
Carlos served as an air delivery specialist parachute rigger during which he earned a several commemorations such as the Global War on Terrorism Service, Iraqi Campaign, National Defense Service and Humanitarian Service medals.
During a diving exercise in Hawaii, Carlos broke his neck. “I had completed one tour in Iraq and shortly after I suffered a severe injury to my neck, which left me paralyzed from the neck down.”
Since his paralyzing injury, Carlos says becoming involved in adaptive sports “opened doors” for him—especially in the area of athletics. Carlos participated in his first wheelchair sporting event at the 26th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, copresented annually by Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Since that experience, I have been doing things that I never would have thought I would have been able to do as an able-bodied person. I play rugby and basketball, swim, ski and do track and field.”
After his experience at the Wheelchair Games, Carlos was selected to join the 2008 U.S. Paralympics Team where he participated in the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.
Carlos currently resides in southern Florida.