Sergeant Sam Cila joined the New York National Guard shortly after the September 11th attacks. Trained as a sniper and motivated to serve, Sam quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant as a member of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment.
In October 2004, Cila deployed with his Guard Unit to Iraq for a year-long combat tour. On July 4th, 2005, Cila was wounded in an IED blast while on patrol just outside of the Green Zone in Baghdad. Near death, Cila’s life was saved by the quick reactions of his platoon medic who stabilized his wounds and evacuated him for further care.
Within days of his injury, Cila arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and underwent more than 40 surgeries. The severe blast wounds he sustained left him with limited left arm mobility and no use of his left hand. Cila was eventually amputated in December of 2008.