Corporal Josh Sams, US Marine Corps
The oldest of three boys, Josh was born and raised in rural Wilmington, Ohio. He grew up spending his free time outside in creeks and woods hunting, fishing, riding four wheelers, and playing sports. Josh’s love of the outdoors continued throughout his high school years and into his postsecondary endeavors at Thomas More College, where he studied criminal justice for two years before deciding to take a break.
Josh’s path to the Marine Corps happened by coincidence: his friend, who had joined the USMC right out of high school, told the local Marine recruiter of him. Josh met with the recruiter and, hooked on the excitement and adventure that the Marine Corps could offer, decided to join.
Josh completed two deployments to Afghanistan, in 2008 and 2010, as an anti-tank assaultman specializing in rockets and demolitions. After re-enlisting in 2010, he took the selection indoc for the sniper platoon in his unit. After completing the selection, Josh was rewarded with a seat at the Marine Corps Sniper School in Quantico, Virginia.
Once Josh graduated from the program, he was sent back to Afghanistan. It was on this tour of duty that his life would be forever changed. In January 2012, during his last mission before a return the US, Josh stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) and suffered the loss of both of his legs above the knee. He was medically evacuated from the battle and eventually made his way to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Nineteen months after arriving at Walter Reed, Josh medically retired from the Marine Corps in May of 2013. He decided that he needed to finish his criminal justice degree and enrolled at Coastal Carolina Community College. In 2015, he graduated with an associate degree and moved back to his hometown, where a specially adapted home had just been completed for him. Josh took a job with the local sheriff’s department as a dispatcher, and he now manages the evidence room.
Josh still has a love of the outdoors and sports. He spends his free time hunting, fishing, handcycling, competing in triathlons, weightlifting, and loving his dogs. Recently, Josh also accepted a position for the Wilmington College football team as an assistant linebackers coach. Down the road, he has his eye on local politics.
“Going back to school was an immediate goal of mine once I left Walter Reed and retired from the Marine Corps. Sentinels of Freedom made this possible. I believe this is an exceptional group of people doing exceptional things for the wounded veterans looking to make a difference in their own lives.”