Sergeant First Class Kyle Garcia, US Marine Corps
Kyle Garcia was born in Hayward, California, and grew up all over the East Bay area. His grandfather served in the Army as a paratrooper, and Kyle has four uncles and a sister who have all served on active duty. Growing up, Kyle’s mother was insistent that he become the first in the family to join the Coast Guard. Naturally, Kyle sought out the exact opposite; in 2006, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry.
Kyle was trained as a mortarman at the School of Infantry. He was then assigned his first duty station: 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California. Shortly thereafter, in 2007, he deployed to Iraq where he operated as a scout. After returning from his first tour, Kyle was selected to attend the Scout Sniper Basic Course. He deployed to Iraq for the second time in 2008 – this time as the only Marine scout sniper in his company. In 2010, he re-enlisted and was promoted to the rank of sergeant.
In 2011, Kyle received orders to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, in Twentynine Palms, California. He deployed for the third time in 2011, but this time to Afghanistan. On November 7, 2011, Kyle was leading a dismounted patrol when a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED) detonated underneath his left foot. The blast amputated his left leg and severely injured his right leg. He was able to remain conscious, coordinate his own medical evacuation on the radio, and retain command of his squad until support arrived. He was evacuated to Bagram and eventually to Germany for multiple lifesaving surgeries. Shortly afterwards, Kyle returned to the US where he was assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion at the Naval Medical Center Balboa in San Diego, California.
While undergoing physical therapy treatment at Balboa, Kyle attended night classes and earned his A.A. degree before medically retiring from the Marine Corps in 2013. He earned his B.S. degree in Accounting from San Francisco State University in May 2016, graduating magna cum laude. Kyle plans to attend law school in the fall of 2017; he is currently awaiting admissions decisions from the 13 law schools to which he has applied. In the meantime, he is studying and testing for the California CPA exam.
“I am lucky to have Sentinels of Freedom to mentor me through one of the most difficult transition phases in my life, helping me feel more at ease. SOF has inspired me to become a better person…SOF provides housing assistance so that I can focus on my education and not have to stress about how I am going to provide for my wife and newborn son while in school full-time.”