UCLA Campus    |   UCLA Health    |   School of Medicine Translate:
UCLA Health It Begins With U
UCLA Operation Mend
Print
Email
Share

Meet Our Wounded Warriors

About UCLA Operation Mend, wounded warriors, reconstructive surgery 

Listed below are a few of our wounded warriors and their stories. 


Alpha Sort by Last Name   A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
   
Marine Corporal Oyoana Allende   Marine Corporal Oyoana Allende is married, studying occupational therapy, and living in New York City for the summer.  She was injured on June 23, 2005 when a suicide bomber rammed his car, wired with explosives into her Marine convoy truck. Fourteen female Marines were riding in the bed of the truck at the time, being dropped off at various military checkpoints where they helped search Iraqi women for weapons and explosives. Three female Marines were killed in the incident, plus the driver of her vehicle, the gunner and a rescuer. She sustained extensive burns to her face, hands and knees.  Despite the events of this tragedy, Oyoana keeps a smile on her face and makes the world around her glow.
   

back to top »

U.S ARMY SSG Juan A Amaris   U.S ARMY SSG Juan A Amaris is originally from Cali Colombia. He moved to the United States in 1999, and joined the Military on February of 2001. He did his basic training at Fort Sill Oklahoma, then he was sent to Fort Benign for Airborne School and finally to Fort Bragg North Carolina. He served under the 1-377 Field Artillery Air assault Battalion, Unit with which he deployed to Mosul Iraq at the beginning of 2003 and return earlier 2004. After he got back he was sent to Fort Wainwright Alaska to be part of the new striker brigade. SSG Amaris deployed in the middle of August of 2005 with this unit to Iraq where he was injured in theater on June 20 of 2006. He was burned over 77% of his body and lost the use of both hands. SSG Amaris is currently living in San Antonio Texas, with his wife and two children. His motto to this day is "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... YOU are in charge of your attitude."
 

back to top »

Army Captain James Barclay  

Army Captain James Barclay 
CPT Barclay, married, father of 3 children.  On August 19, 2006 while serving as an Infantry platoon leader for 10 th Mountain Division, CPT Barclay was wounded in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. Three soldiers died that day, CPT Barclay and his driver were the only soldiers who survived. 47 % of his body was burned, 35% was 3rd degree burns. The enormous amount of scarring limited his ability to fully open his mouth and disfigured his face and hands.  The surgeries he has undergone at UCLA have restored much of his mobility and function and reduced the scarring tremendously on both his face and his hands.

   

back to top »

Army Specialist Donald Joey Barr  

Army Specialist Donald “Joey” Barr
SPC Donald “Joey” Barr is currently living in Iowa.  On April 21, 2008 while serving as a Gunner in his tank, Joey was injured in Iraq after his tank drove over a roadside bomb . Joey suffered a broken jaw, torn left ACL, torn right PCL, compression fracture L1-T12 and herniated discs. Joey has undergone knee and shoulder surgeries at UCLA and is returning to a more active lifestyle.  

   

back to top »

Navy Chief Petty Officer Robert Bruce   Navy Chief Petty Officer Robert Bruce was recently promoted to Chief Petty Officer, Robert Bruce is currently living in San Antonio Texas and was one of eight sailors injured Dec. 1, 2006 when a steam pipe ruptured aboard the Guam-based submarine tender USS Frank Cable. The steam line ruptured during a safety-valve check while the ship was docked at Guam’s Apra Harbor sending hot steam into the fire room where Bruce was one of 14 sailors acting as technicians, standing watch or observing the safety check. Two sailors have since died of their injuries.
 

back to top »

Marine Corporal Diane Cardile   Marine Corporal Diane Cardile was awarded a Purple Heart after she was injured in Iraq in June 2005. Her Humvee that was filled with 13 other female Marines was hit by a suicide car bomb while driving in a convoy back to Camp Fallujah.  She sustained serious burns around her mouth and her hands.
 

back to top »

Army Corporal Louis Dahlman  

Army Specialist Louis Dahlman
SPC Louis Dahlman is currently living in Texas with his wife and daughter.  Louis was deployed to Iraq for three months when he was injured by an EFP (roadside bomb) resulting in the loss of his lower mandible, including his bottom teeth.  He has undergone several reconstructive surgeries and can now eat normally and enjoy a better quality of life.

   

back to top »

Air force Technical Sergeant Israel Del Toro   TSGT. Israel Del Toro currently living in San Antonio Texas with his wife and son. He was severely injured while on tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2005. Originally his job was to call in air strikes, but that December, his Humvee hit a massive IED. Del Toro was burned over 80 percent of his body. Doctors gave Del Toro a 20 percent chance of survival. He has undergone over 100 surgeries since his accident. Israel’s positive outlook on life continues to inspire everyone that has the pleasure of meeting him.
   

back to top »

Army Specialist Francesca Duke   SPC. Francesca Duke is currently living in San Antonio Texas with her family. Her job as a Military Police Officer was to train and maintain an Iraqi Police station in Ramadi, Iraq. On August 21, 2006 the IP station she was assigned to was blown up by a VBIED carrying propane tanks and explosives. She was burned on her legs, arms, banc, trunk, and face. She will be having her first surgery at UCLA at the end of this year and is home celebrating the new birth of her beautiful daughter.
 

back to top »

Marine Corporal Christopher Gray   Marine Sergeant Christopher Gray, currently living in North Carolina with his wife and two beautiful daughters was in an Abrams tank in Fallujah, Iraq, on February 17, 2007, when two rocket-propelled grenades hit his vehicle causing the ammunition inside to explode directly behind Gray's head. Everyone inside the tank was injured when it became engulfed in flames. Gray suffered third-degree burns on 53 percent of his body. Since then, he has been through multiple skin grafts and other surgeries, including a cornea transplant. About 125 centimeters of his small intestine was removed. He has undergone the beginning stages of the forehead flap procedure with Dr. Miller.
 

back to top »

Navy Petty Officer 1 Michael Lammey  

Navy Petty Officer 1 Michael Lammey
PO1 Lammey is currently living in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and three children.  On Dec. 1, 2006 he was injured, along with 12 others, when the steam line on their ship, the USS Frank Cable, ruptured during a safety valve check while docked at Guam’s Apra Harbor.  Steam was released into the boiler’s firebox and ignited the unburned vapors, injuring technicians and those observing the valve check.  Michael Lammey, received Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals for “heroic” action in helping others to safety.

 

back to top »

US Marine Corporal Aaron P. Mankin  

Marine Corporal Aaron P. Mankin was Operation Mend's first patient in August 2007. He is currently living in Texas and has two beautiful children. On May 11th, 2005, he was wounded when the 26-ton amphibious assault vehicle he was traveling in rolled over an improvised explosive device and was propelled 10 feet in the air. 

Four Marines died in the attack and 11 others were injured. In addition to the damage sustained to his throat and lungs from smoke inhalation, Cpl. Mankin suffered intense burns on over 25 percent of his body. His ears, nose and mouth were essentially gone and he lost two fingers on his right hand.

   

back to top »

Army Sergeant Jason March  

Army Sergeant Jason March
SGT March is retired and living in La Vernia, Texas.  On August 27, 2006, while leading a platoon near Fallujah, he was hit by a sniper’s bullet in the back of the head near his right ear while standing in the gun turret of a Bradley. The right side of SGT March’s head, ear, jaw and brain received the direct impact of the gunshot.  In the past 2 years, he has undergone 7 procedures and can now smile on both sides of his face.  With the help of his family, and positive attitude, his motor control has improved and his sense of humor makes him a joy to be around.

   

back to top »

Army Sergeant Darron Mikeworth  

Army Sergeant Darron Mikeworthis active duty living in North Carolina and is stationed at Fort Bragg with his wife Dea and two young boys.  In April of 2005, as a Humvee gunner on the way to Balad Air Base in Iraq, he saw a suicide bomber approach his convoy. The attack nearly killed Sgt. Mikeworth and left him terribly disfigured. It broke every bone in his face. He lost his nose, left eye, and almost lost his right arm. He is in the process of a series of operations with Christopher A. Crisera, M.D. that include constructing a lower eyelid in which a prosthetic eye can be placed, reconstructing his nose and reforming his lips. He is slowly regaining his face and his life.

   

back to top »

Army Staff Sergeant Michael Mills  

Army Sergeant First Class Michael Mills
SFC Mills is retired and living in Minnesota with his wife and two children. He was injured in Kirkuk, Iraq on June 14, 2005 by an Improvised Explosive Device that burned over 31% of his body, and broke his scapula, clavicle and 4 bones in his left foot. His left hip was also badly broken. He had his left little finger and thumb amputated, has 13 pins and a plate in his left hip, and was missing a portion of his left ear and nose.  He is extremely pleased with the reconstruction he has undergone at UCLA and now spends time with his family and on their website helping fellow Veterans.

 

back to top »

Army Specialist Joseph (Joey) Paulk  

Army Specialist Joseph (Joey) Paulk
SPC Paulk is now retired and living back in his hometown of Oceanside, California with his girlfriend and two dogs.  On July 5, 2007 he was injured in Afghanistan when his tactical vehicle was hit by 3 anti-tank mines, flipping it over and igniting the fuel tank. Tragically, his team leader lost his life during the attack, and Joey was left with significant injuries. He suffered 40% burns to his body and face, smoke inhalation, paralysis of his vocal cords and complete amputation of all 10 fingers. He has had to re-learn how to walk, talk, swallow, and cope without the use of his hands. Joey is now an active spokesman for wounded warriors in southern California and is back to being very active in his athletic activities like snowboarding and soccer.

   

back to top »

Marine Corporal Joseph Piram  

Marine Corporal Joseph Piram
Cpl Piram is now retired, and living in Minnesota with his family. Joe joined the Marine Corps after graduation from high school in 2004. He served two, 7-month long tours in Iraq, and was injured in Afghanistan only 2 months away from completing his service in the Marine Corps. On June 20, 2008, an improvised explosive device hit his Humvee. Joe was burned over 35% of his body and broke his back in the incident. He has extensive scarring on the right side of his face and has no right ear.  Joe has had facial reconstruction done on his nose and is still seeing our dermatology department to reduce redness from his burn injuries.. Joe continues to stay positive and is back in school pursuing his Bachelor’s degree.

   

back to top »

Marine Corporal Ronny Porta   Marine Corporal Ronny Porta is currently living in San Antonio Texas with his new puppy. While he was in Al Asad Iraq on May 5, 2007, his Humvee hit a roadside IED killing two of the marines he was with instantly and severely burning Ronny. His prognosis was devastating: 3rd, 4th and 5th degree burns over 35% of his body. He had to have his right arm amputated and suffered facial disfigurement, the loss of his nose, damage to ears and eye sockets, and loss of fingers on his left hand. Ronny's soft hearted approach to everyone he encounters is a reminder of the strength and courage he posses.
 

back to top »

Marine Staff Sergeant Octavio Sanchez  

Marine Staff Sergeant Octavio Sanchez is a married father of four and is currently retired and living in California.  He was the victim of a makeshift roadside bomb in Ramadi and suffered third-degree burns over 70 percent of his face and body in June 2005. Before arriving at the V.A.-Greater Los Angeles, he was told there was nothing more that could be done for him. Operation Mend doctors were able to construct a nose, using skin from SSgt Sanchez's forehead. Once the blood supply was in place, one of his ribs was implanted to provide structure to the nose. Nostrils were fashioned out of remaining ear cartilage and his lips and cheeks were rebuilt. He has undergone several surgeries on his face and hand and now enjoys a more natural and normal appearance.

   

back to top »

Marine Gunnery Sergeant Blaine Scott  

Marine Master Sergeant Blaine Scott
MSgt Scott is Operation Mend’s 7th patient and the first to have surgery at UCLA on his ankle as an Operation Mend participant. He is married and a father of three. On August 2006 he was hit with an I.E.D in Iraq.  Three of his comrades died and three were injured.  He ended up at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX after receiving 40% burns to his head, face, arms, and legs.  He had a severely broken ankle and foot.  He remains active duty, returned from another deployment in Afghanistan after several very successful surgeries at UCLA. Currently he is stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center.   

 

back to top »

Marine Corporal Jacob Tabora   Marine Corporal Jacob Tabora from Queens New York City was deployed to Iraq in 2007. After 9 months overseas he returned to the states and began rigorous training to be redeployed in the summer of 2008. During a live fire training event on base at 29 Palms a defective 120mm tank round exploded inside of his tank setting it on fire and trapping Jacob inside. He suffered 55% total surface body burns-36% of which were 3rd degree. After receiving a year of exceptional treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas, Jacob will also be having reconstructive plastic surgery with Dr. Miller at UCLA, December 1st, 2009.
   

back to top »

Army Sergeant Salvador Trujillo-Lopez   Army Sergeant Salvador Trujillo-Lopez is currently living in Oregon with his wife, and three children.  He was injured on  June 23, 2006 suffering second and third degree burns over 40 percent of his body when his Bradley fighting vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq.   Salvador has undergone several surgeries on his face and hands as well as medical tattooing.  His scars do not stop him from spending as much time with his kids as possible and snowboarding whenever he can.  He is very happy with the results of his surgeries.
 

back to top »

Army Specialist Robert Williamson  

Army Specialist Robert Williamson
SPC Williamson, married, father of 2 children, is currently living in Illinois. Over his tour in Sadr City in Baghdad between March to May 2008, SPC Williamson was involved in multiple IED blasts. These blasts resulted in Traumatic Brain Injury, causing severe brain atrophy, and eleven herniated disks in his back. SPC Williamson has had two epidural spinal injections to his back and an EMG/nerve conduction study to help with pain. He has also seen Dr. Vespa for Traumatic Brain Injury diagnostics in August 2012.

 

back to top »

Army Sergeant Richard (Rick) Yarosh   Army Sergeant Richard (Rick) Yarosh currently lives in Binghamton, New York. He was deployed to Iraq in December 2005 (then a PFC) as a driver of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and then moved to the gunner position. On September 1, 2006, Sgt. Yarosh and his fellow soldiers were on patrol in the Abu Ghraib region of Iraq when their Bradley vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. The explosion ruptured the vehicle's fuel cell and engulfed the entire crew and vehicle in flames.  Sgt. Yarosh's face and body were on fire when he jumped from the top of the Bradley's turret. His jump broke his right leg, severing an artery, which resulted in an amputation (below the knee). He suffered burns over 60 percent of his body, lost partial digits and full use in both hands, lost both of his ears and part of his nose.
   

back to top »

 
UCLA Rated One of the Top Hospitals in the Nation