Today: President Obama greets Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, alongside his father Craig, during a visit to Remsburg’s new home in Gilbert, Arizona (Photo by Doug Mills)
Washington Post (2013): They were introduced near Omaha Beach in France in 2009, when Sergeant Remsburg was part of a select Army Ranger group chosen to re-enact a parachute drop for celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II.
Four months later, on Oct. 1 2009, Sergeant Remsburg was face down in a canal near Kandahar, thrown by the force of a quarter-ton roadside bomb, shrapnel penetrating his brain and right eye. He spent the next three months in a coma, through operations at military hospitals in Afghanistan, Germany and Bethesda, Md., outside Washington. Through the winter of 2010, he was at a veterans’ hospital in Tampa, Fla., where he slowly regained consciousness. In April 2010, he returned to Bethesda for surgery to rebuild his skull.
Their second meeting came less than a year later at a military hospital outside Washington, where Mr. Obama was stunned to see among the wounded troops from Afghanistan a familiar young man — now brain-damaged, a track of fresh stitches across his skull, and partly paralyzed…..
…. the President came for his annual physical and to visit patients. Entering a hospital room, he saw a photo on the wall — of himself and Sergeant Remsburg in Normandy — and did a double take, looking at the broken man lying there, and again at the strapping soldier in the frame.
“Cory still couldn’t speak, but he looked me in the eye,” the president said later. “He lifted his arm, and he shook my hand firmly. And when I asked how he was feeling, he held up his hand, pulled his fingers together and gave a thumbs up.”
The third meeting was in a private visit in Phoenix, where Sergeant Remsburg did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.
There was more. Grasping his walker, “Cory took a step, then another, and then another,” Mr. Obama said later, “all the way across the room.”
In 2014, Sgt Remsburg was a guest of the President at the State of the Union
“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.
For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.
“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”
Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.”
AZCentral: An ongoing physical recovery, a new home custom-made for his needs – the only other thing that would really make Cory Remsburg’s day was a visit from the president.
That’s just what happened Friday afternoon … which brought the sixth meeting between the former soldier and the commander-in-chief.
After a visit to Phoenix’s VA hospital, President Obama’s motorcade took an unscheduled detour, heading toward Gilbert and pulling up in front of Remsburg’s newly remodeled home.
… As the motorcade pulled out of Gilbert, Remsburg said the visit was “Completely unexpected,” and “very cool.”
“I’m just a sergeant first class,” he said. “I’m no big deal. He’s the commander-in-chief. He’s a very big deal.”
The home came to Remsburg from Homes for Wounded Warriors, the charity started by NFL player Jared Allen. The organization aims to remodel homes for the most severely disabled veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. (More here)
President Obama visits with Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg and family members at his newly finished home in Gilbert, Arizona, March 13, 2015 (Photo by Pete Souza)