Day 11 - Neil Duncan

Neil Duncan: Army. 173rd Airborne Infantry. Deployed 2003 to Iraq and 2005 to Afghanistan.

Birthday: November 3, 1983 

Interests: Mountain climbing, Sailing, Thrill-seeking

“Opportunities abound. They’re everywhere.” – Neil Duncan

While deployed to Afghanistan in December 2005, Neil’s unit was conducting a routine mission. Their job was to spend the night watching a village. The next morning, they left their observation post to return to base. As the three-truck convoy crept along a dry river bed, the first two vehicles missed an IED that had been buried underground. Neil’s truck struck it.

The IED detonated directly beneath Neil and, though it didn’t shear his legs off, it caused enough damage that both required amputation. Neil woke up remembering an explosion, but a week had passed and he had no idea where he was. Because he required nonstop surgeries after his injury, the medical team had put him in a week-long chemically-induced coma.

What followed was two years of intense therapy. Neil was fitted for and forced himself to walk with prosthetics. As an athlete and a soldier, it was particularly frustrating to constantly trip and fall as he relearned to walk. But he kept at it, refusing a wheel chair. He says his “stubbornness” paid off. Recalling those days, he says he adapted much more quickly because he never gave up.

Neil became a part of Wounded Warrior Project during this time. He cites WWP and the opportunities they created as a big part of his successful rehabilitation. Neil met fellow warriors and networked at functions with people from all walks of life. Since his rehabilitation, he never misses a chance to fully live, whether climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, which he has done once and plans to do again, or sailing in treacherous yacht races with a team of amputees. He has a different perspective on life and says, “[WWP] opens doors. You have to walk through them. . . . Opportunities abound. They’re everywhere.”

Visit the Wounded Warrior homepage.



Nov. 15, 2009 at 4:12 PM

This Thankgiving, I'm very thankful that men like you and my son in law who is currently serving in Afghanistan were willing to fight there, so we don't have to fight here! You are truly a hero! Thank you so much for what you gave for this country. There are many of us who are grateful ...

Nov. 24, 2009 at 12:53 AM

I just want to say to Neil Duncan and other man and Ladies like him who are risking there lives to keep us safe but he has a great look out and as each day goes by I hope he keeps on going forward it's a long road but he has a good outlook and I want to say thank you to him and other Men and Ladies and they are always in my pray. May God Bless Them and they love ones

Nov. 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Thank you Neil for your contributions to this country. Your optimism is a true testament of the unyielding spirit of America and all the servicemen and women who fight to protect it.

Nov. 28, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Thank you Neil for your service to this country. Your optimism is a true testament to the unyielding spirit of America and all the servicemen and women who fight to maintain it.

Dec. 2, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Dear Neil Duncan, God bless you, and thank you for your service. Your story is an inspiring one. Thank you for being so brave and setting an example for others to follow. Your life makes a difference as does all of our soldiers who serve in the Armed Forces for our great country. Thank you to all of our soldiers! We have so much to be thankful for. How blessed we are in this nation!

Dec. 11, 2009 at 7:55 PM

To Neil and all of the men and women who serve in our military, God bless you and your families.Thank you so much for all that you've done. Praying for peace and the safety of our servicemen and for them to return home soon. I love you all. Keep living life to the fullest Neil, I'm proud of you.

Dec. 20, 2009 at 12:10 PM

thanks for helpingourtroops

Jan. 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

GOD BLESS YOU! Thank u so much for your sacrafice and for your service. Thank u for serving this amazing country and being there when our country needed u the most (: !!!

Jan. 24, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Neil (and all who do what you do)- You are true patriots! God Bless all of you and I hope that for the rest of your life you carry the pride and satisfaction of knowing that you've made a huge difference for all of us here in this country enjoying our freedoms every single day! My son (a marine) also was deployed to Iraq and I know that the wives, childeren and families deserve some recognition for sacrifices as well. Your perspective is amazing and truly inspirational and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service!

Feb. 26, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Neil, I am so grateful to you for your service and the sacrifices you made to keep us safe. You are my hero. I am so glad I came across your video. What an inspiration you are to me. You made my day! Thank you so much.

Mar. 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM

God wasn't ready to receive you, Neil. He still needed you and your purpose for a reason. The sacrafice you made, will only give witness to those young military members who continue to

Apr. 17, 2010 at 2:04 PM

God Bless You Neil, not only for serving but for your heroic sacrifice! Men like you give all of us a reason for living, and to do more for our communities! Gloria A nurse in Melbourne, Fl.

Apr. 24, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Thank you Sir, I am grateful

Jul. 8, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Neil,just wanted to express my gratitude to you and all men and women serving in the Middle East and elsewhere.I think I speak for all Americans when I say we really appreciate your sacrifice and support you completely.Good luck in all your endeavors.Thanks again and God bless you.

Aug. 18, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Dear Mr. Duncan, Thank you. You are a true American Hero. God Bless you. Your story of makes The Wounded Warriors Project even more pertinent to the soldiers who need it. I donate every time I can. My Dad and husband were Army too. We are an Army family. My Dad was in the 104th Timberwolves Infantry Division in WWII and my husband was stationed in Korea during the Vietnam conflict. We are truely grateful for your sacrifice to keep us "Free". Georgia, a nurse over 30 years.

Aug. 18, 2010 at 10:21 AM

i wanted to thank you for bringing this organation to my attention. first to thank you for what you did for this country. we are truly the home of the free because of the brave. i volunteer at the duke va in durham nc every day i don't work . most of the men and women are residents who are from past wars and are 1/2 limb amputees i take them through the cafeteria line and help them get their meals ready so they can feed themselves. i get more from them than i give to them. their smiles make my day! i wear

Oct. 11, 2010 at 1:54 PM

TO: NEIL DUNCAN, Member of "The Herd" and Soldier. As I watched the video detailing the events that brought you to this project, I am once again (my husband, 173rd Brdg, WIA/RVN), amazed and grateful that the USA has such extraordinary citizens. Those who willingly place themselves at the "sharp end of the stick", and do so fully aware that they may never return and even if they do, they are never the same. Yet every day you push through your pain/doubt and your determination (w/no self pity or whine) to never give up is a marvel. May you & your family find peace. To:OVERSTOCK company employees Many in the USA pay lip service to our veterans but YOU made a decision to do something for them. That the WWP can never share the same degree of sacrifice with our troops is understood. However, the general definition of "Initiative" is not discrete to them: "The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination." Bravo!

Oct. 20, 2010 at 8:04 PM

On September 29th, 2010, while on a mission in Afghanistan,my son was wounded. I went to his bedside when he returned back to the United States. I cannot say enough good things about the Wounded Warriors Program. They not only help financially, but, emotionally. It fills my heart with pride to know that in this day and time, the people of the United States still care and appreciate their military personal. Thanks to all who support the Wounded Warriors Program. It is appreciated more than you will ever know.

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