Sergeant Kyle Garcia, US Marine Corps

DSC01091_editKyle was born in Hayward, California, and grew up all over the San Francisco East Bay area. His grandfather served in the Army, and he has four uncles and a sister who have all served on active duty as well. Growing up, Kyle’s mother was insistent that he become the first in the family to join the Coast Guard, but, naturally, Kyle sought out the exact opposite. In 2006, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry.

Kyle deployed to Iraq twice, the second time as the only Marine scout sniper in his company. In 2010, he re-enlisted and was promoted to the rank of sergeant. He deployed for the third time in 2011, but this time to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.

In November 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, and retain command of his squad until support arrived. After multiple lifesaving surgeries, Kyle returned to the US.

While undergoing physical therapy treatment, Kyle attended night classes and earned an associate degree before medically retiring from the Marine Corps in 2013. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from San Francisco State University in May 2016 and will attend the School of Law at the Washington University in St. Louis, beginning in the fall of 2017.

“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…son while in school full-time.”