Manuel Arriola, Army SFC (Ret)
Manuel Arriola was assigned to a Military Transition Team (MiTT) in Iraq as the Combat Medic with 4-4 IA BDE, in Salah Ad Din Province, NW of Balad, Iraq in 2007 when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) on a recon mission of a BN in his Area of Operation (AO), then a second time upon returning to base.
SFC Arriola remembers asking if all the occupants in his M1151 were okay but doesn’t remember much of the 2nd explosion until he arrived at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) where he was told to clear his weapon. The explosions resulted in a mild Traumatic Brain Injury, constant ringing in his ears, and severe headaches. SFC Arriola was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals for his actions as a Combat Medic while deployed to Iraq, treating his teammates and over 250 Iraqi soldiers and civilians while deployed. Upon retiring after 24 years of service he found an outlet in riding his motorcycle and the game of golf to help him overcome both physical and emotional wounds. Helps get one with nature and not think of other outside influences that cause anxiety and stress. He currently resides in El Paso, Tx., with his wife Alejandra and step-daughter. SFC Arriola entered the Army in May 1987 as a Combat Medic and retired in May 2011.