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Navy Corpsman amputee shares Veterans Day story of valor

Semper Fi & America's Fund helped Doc Jacobs complete more than 30 marathons and half marathons.

SAN DIEGO — Veteran's Day is a time to honor our nation's heroes. In this Zevely Zone, I met the definition of valor and share a story that goes beyond the call of duty. 

It was the attack on 9-11 that compelled Doc Jacobs at 18 years old to become a Navy Corpsman. "That's me in a Humvee we are heading out on patrol," said Doc. On February 25th, 2006, Doc wasn't supposed to work but when he heard his team was a medic short, he insisted they send him out in a Humvee in Iraq.

"I remember my machine gunner who was sitting next to me, he said Doc you need to sit here this is statistically the safest seat in the vehicle and it's reserved for VIP's, and I said no man if anything happens, I'd rather it be me than you," said Doc.

Credit: Semper Fi & America’s Fund

Something did happen, an IED went off and Doc made this radio call. "I said this is Doc J, I can't feel my legs," said Doc. He put tourniquets on both his legs but still went to work.

Credit: Semper Fi & America’s Fund

"I climbed out of the Humvee and started getting shot at by a sniper and my weapon was dismantled from the IED," said Doc who started helping others despite being wounded. "Oh yeah, yeah. I had them place me against the wall in the courtyard and I started working on my gunner," said Doc. 

Doc's heroism earned him the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. "My fingers were mangled, my right forearm was shattered," said Doc. His neck was broken, and so was his back, but he kept trying to save lives. "I was just in the mindset of my Marines. I had to take care of them," said Doc.  

Credit: Semper Fi & America’s Fund

Two men died that day. "I do everything I can to honor them and their families every day and I named my son after both of them," said Doc. Almost 17 years later, Doc wants to thank the Semper Fi & America's Fund for their support in helping him complete more than 30 marathons and half marathons. "I have hand cycled to Los Angeles, Boston, New York," said the 37-year-old and he didn't stop there. Doc tried out for the Detroit Tigers, the L.A. Dodgers and Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Credit: Semper Fi & America’s Fund

Nothing can break his spirit. Not the 89 surgeries he has undergone or even the 90th, which is just days away. "Once it's gone it's gone there is no going back," said Doc. He fought to save his right leg but all of these years later it's too painful to keep. "I am going to get it cut off, but you know what? I am going to run more half marathons," said Doc. He retired from the military but scars and tattoos speak of a service that never ends. The tattoo on his arm shows a corpsman carrying a wounded Marine out of the gates of hell. A bracelet he wears memorializes a fallen Marine. "Corporal Mihalo," said Doc whose arm filled with chill bumps. Just talking about his fallen buddies makes him emotional. "I love them every day," said Doc.  

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It was during his time in rehab that Semper Fi & America’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides lifetime support to combat wounded service members and their families, provided adaptive equipment that allowed Doc to return to his normal activity level. Semper Fi & America's Fund cares for our nation's critically wounded ill, and injured service members, veterans, and military families. Supporting all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, we provide one-on-one case management, connection, and lifetime support.

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For the eleventh consecutive year, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) will partner with Semper Fi & America's Fund (The Fund) in the Double Down for Veterans Match Campaign. Through the end of the year, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and PXG will match every donation made to The Fund dollar-for-dollar up to $10 million. Click here for more information.

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