Marine Cpl. Anthony Owens suffered third degree burns across his back and flash burns to his face when his vehicle rolled over a 200-pound IED in Afghanistan. In the blast, he suffered a fractured rib and in the days and months following, he would feel the often debilitating effects of PTSD and TBI.
But that day didn't end with a single blast. Almost instantly, the enemy was upon his unit. Despite his injuries, Anthony pulled his best friend to safety and fired at the enemy, providing cover for other Marines to be pulled from the wreckage. His memories of that day replay from the view of an observer, he said. "It almost felt like I was watching myself like in a movie," he said.
When Anthony returned to the U.S., doctors sent him to San Antonio to treat the severe burns. Rather than use skin grafts, he undergoes monthly laser treatments to burn the scar tissues off of his back. His wife, who was at their home station in North Carolina when he was injured, hurried to Texas to be with him. The couple quickly amassed debt as they tried to maintain homes on both the East coast and Texas. Operation Homefront has given the couple a place to save and prepare for the future.
Now, at the Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio, Anthony and his wife Ashley are able to save in preparation for his medical retirement. His has already secured a job with an energy company in Georgia pending his release from the Marines in about nine months. Anthony said the couple will be able to make that move without incurring more debt, thanks to Operation Homefront. "This has allowed us to save that money for our transition out of the Marine Corps," he said.