Deloitte Featured Warrior: Gunnery Sgt Marcus Wilson

May 12, 2010, 3:02 a.m. (ET)

The Marines got off to a fast start in the Warrior Games competition with four combined victories in sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball and leading the charge for the Corps in both events, just as he has done so often in his 15-year distinguished military career, was Gunnery Sgt. Marcus Wilson (Dermott, Ark.).  Combat wounded in November 2006 from an improvised explosive device while serving in Iraq, GySgt. Wilson is today’s Deloitte Featured Warrior. 

Wilson was in Iraq in 2006, in a truck that was hit by an IED. The other three Marines in his vehicle were killed. Wilson fractured six vertebrae, broke six ribs, both arms, and the femur and tibia in his right leg. He lost his left leg above the knee.

After describing the extent of his injuries, Wilson quipped:  “Despite all that, I’m still smiling.” 

A three-sport athlete in high school, Wilson says sports give him the outlet he needs.  “It feels good to be able to get rid of day-to-day frustrations and angers and do it in a positive way and to be encouraged by the other guys and to encourage other people as well.”

He's recovered well enough to allow him to compete at the Warrior Games in four events (volleyball, basketball, discus and shot put), but that pales in comparison to his ambition to finish a marathon completely on foot in the future.  He’s already completed one marathon – 16 miles by handcycle and the final 10 on foot. 

“Initially, you go through that slump where you think you’re worthless and you don’t think you can do anything,” said Wilson, about using sports as rehabilitation from combat injuries. “Then you see all the guys that are doing stuff like this and it makes you feel like, ‘okay, I can do this too.’ That’s why I’m here right now, because somebody else pulled me up from the bottom and put me where I’m at today.”

His dedication and commitment to the Corps, he does not hide; and it’s for that reason that led him to being honored with the Navy League Award and the Gerald C. Thomas Award for Inspirational Leadership in 2007.  Recognized for valor both while on the battlefield and since his injury, GySgt. Wilson looks forward to instilling leadership on his team at the Warrior Games and his Marine unit for years to come.     

“As long as I’ve still got something to offer to the Marines and the Corp, then I’m going to stay in,” he says about the future.  “Actually, the Corps has encouraged me from the very beginning that if I wanted to stay in, that’s what I could do and that’s been in my head ever since.”

For more on GySgt. Wilson, check out this YouTube video as part of his recognition for the Navy League Award in 2007: