Corporal Chris Larkin was 13 days away from completing a year-long deployment in Iraq when the vehicle he was travelling in suffered a direct hit from an improvised explosive device (IED).
The 24 year-old refers to that day – August 20, 2006 – as his “alive” birthday. The blast caused extensive damage to Larkin’s right leg, tearing his Achilles tendon and all the ligaments in his foot. Other injuries sustained include bulging discs in his spinal column and a mild case of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Larkin also was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The road to recovery has been long and difficult for Chris. Over a two year period Larkin underwent 26 limb salvage-related surgeries at the Bob Wilson Naval Hospital (Balboa) in San Diego. The treatment program however was unsuccessful and in late 2008, Larkin’s right lower leg was amputated. Displeased with his rehabilitation program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California, Larkin opted to receive therapy at the Center for the Intrepid (CFI) in San Antonio, Texas. While undergoing out-patient care at CFI from July 2008 to mid-2009 Larkin was paying for a room at the Powless Guest House on post at Fort Sam Houston, until his money ran out. Out of options, and with a stack of bills back home in California, a case manager referred Larkin to Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio. As a new resident at OH Village Larkin looks forward to getting his finances in order while he continues with his intensive physical therapy schedule at the Center for the Intrepid. Chris plans on getting an undergraduate and Master’s degree in sociology and child development. When his therapy is completed, Larkin hopes to move to Austin and apply to the police academy there.