Infantry School Leader Overcomes Disability

Amputee continues to lead Marines at School of Infantry

By Debbie Gregory.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Gabriel Guest refuses to be a casualty of war. He deployed four times, three times to combat zones, before he was wounded. After the USS Cole was attacked, Guest served in Yemen, Iraq, and in Afghanistan.

Five months into his deployment, Guest, a native of Spokane, Wash., was on a patrol when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device, ejecting him from his vehicle and causing three different compound fractures in his left leg. After years of physical therapy and more than 25 surgeries, Guest was able to jog again but only for short moments.  After four years of bravely trying to recover from numerous operations, he opted to have the leg amputated.

However, Gunnery Sgt. Guest wasn’t about to give up. Thanks to the Marine Expanded Permanent Limited Duty Program Sgt. Guest was offered a new position. The program allows Marines who incurred significant combat injuries that would normally restrict them from continuing their Marine Corps service to continue their careers by mentoring Marines through their leadership skills complemented by combat experience. Guest is now the chief instructor of the Advanced Machine Gunners course at the School of Infantry-West’s Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, CA.

To be eligible for Permanent Limited Duty a marine must:

•             Be able to function in a normal military environment

•             Not require an inordinate amount of medical care

•             Expect to contribute to the effectiveness of the Marine Corps and maintain proper military appearance and weight control

•             Be available for reassignment

Sgt. Guest is leading by example.  He views his amputation as a lesson to his marine students that the war in Afghanistan is real, and not a video game. He feels this lesson will sharpen their combat experience.

Sgt. Guest continues teaching, and is back to full duty. MilitaryConnection.com celebrates the bravery and spirit of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Gabriel Guest.