SSG Edward S. Matayka
Edward Matayka grew up in Chicago, Illinois. As a child, he enjoyed computers, soccer, target pistol and rifle shooting, and a variety of outdoor activities. Edward was working two dead-end jobs and feeling directionless when he met a recruiter at a 7-11. A day later, he enlisted in the army, and by August of 1999, he had graduated basic training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He then began medical training where he met his wife, Karen. They were married by her mother, a Justice of the Peace, in 2004. Karen, a service member in the National Guard, was one of the first five females assigned to the Calvary in Combat. At the time of Edward's accident, she was a shooter, backup medic, and a member of the Female Engagement team.
On July 2, 2010, Edward's company went out for evening patrol of the Bagram security zone in Afghanistan. At about 1:00 am, an IED went off underneath the MATV, hitting a seam in the under armor. The driver, who was sitting directly in front of Edward, was killed instantly. As a result of the blast, Edward's left leg was traumatically amputated, and the right was badly damaged. He was the worst injured survivor in the vehicle. Because he was the medic, it was up to the rest of the survivors to see to the wounded, using the knowledge they had learned from the many tourniquet drills Edward had made them do. A gunner from the truck in front of theirs, SPC David Schwerer, came back to pull security, prevent counter-attack, and put two of Edward's five tourniquets onto his legs.
The National Guard rushed his wife Karen to him within four hours of the blast, and she never left his side. After over 23 surgeries, Edward is now a double amputee, with traumatic brain injury, Cauda Equina syndrome, multiple lumbar fractures resulting in a spinal fusion, left upper arm spasticity, and left side visual neglect. Presently, Edward has therapy seven days a week, resulting in their relocation to Bandera, Texas. Happily, the Mataykas continue to grow strong and were blessed with beautiful twins, Ryan and Alana.