HomeNewsArticle Display

EOD Warrior overcomes, regains military might

A Warrior CARE athlete, Kenneth Guinn pulls his arrows from the target during an archery session at the adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The base hosts the week-long Wounded Warrior CARE event that helps recovering wounded, ill and injured military members through specific hand-on rehabilitative training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

A Warrior CARE athlete, Kenneth Guinn pulls his arrows from the target during an archery session at the adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The base hosts the week-long Wounded Warrior CARE event that helps recovering wounded, ill and injured military members through specific hand-on rehabilitative training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Master Sgt. Kenneth Guinn, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron, aims and holds his arrow at full draw durng an archery session at the Air Force Wounded Warrior adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The base hosts the week-long Wounded Warrior CARE event that helps recovering wounded, ill and injured military members through specific hand-on rehabilitative training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Master Sgt. Kenneth Guinn, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron, aims and holds his arrow at full draw durng an archery session at the Air Force Wounded Warrior adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The base hosts the week-long Wounded Warrior CARE event that helps recovering wounded, ill and injured military members through specific hand-on rehabilitative training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Master Sgt. Keith Guinn, a Warrior Games athlete, begins his discus rotation during a track and field session at the Air Force team’s training camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 27. The base-hosted, week-long Warrior Games training camp is the last team practice session before the yearly competition in June. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Master Sgt. Keith Guinn, a Warrior Games athlete, begins his discus rotation during a track and field session at the Air Force team’s training camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 27. The base-hosted, week-long Warrior Games training camp is the last team practice session before the yearly competition in June. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A Warrior CARE athlete, Kenneth Guinn pulls his arrows from the target during an archery session at the adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The base hosts the week-long Wounded Warrior CARE event that helps recovering wounded, ill and injured military members through specific hand-on rehabilitative training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

A Warrior CARE athlete, Kenneth Guinn pulls his arrows from the target during an archery session at the adaptive sports camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 26. The base hosts the week-long Wounded Warrior CARE event that helps recovering wounded, ill and injured military members through specific hand-on rehabilitative training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Rapper Lil Wayne’s rhyme helps keep one explosive ordnance disposal technician on track after several harrowing deployments.  

“Those words remind me I have the strength it takes to make it through what life brings. That keeps me going,” said Master Sgt. Kenneth Guinn, a 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Airman from Tyndall Air Force Base.

Guinn attended the AF Warrior Games training camp here April 24 - 28. He is set to compete in shooting, archery, sitting volleyball, and track at this year’s Department of Defense Warrior Games in June.

“It’s great to do something my son will actually get to see,” said the 14-year veteran. “He was in awe of the medals I won at the Nellis AFB trials. He wants me to win.”

In 2010, life changed for the Sunray, Texas native. On a mission in Afghanistan, the vehicle he was in took a direct strike from an improvised explosive device. 

“As an EOD tech, I’ve experienced some pretty good blasts. I’m lucky. I can remember my name and still tie my own shoes.” said the 30-year-old who suffered from chronic fatigue and memory loss. “At the time, traumatic brain injury was kind of foreign to everybody, especially in the Air Force, so I didn’t really get treatment or help.”

Two years later, he returned to Afghanistan. While on that deployment, tragedy struck when his friend stepped on an IED. The powerful blast severed both of his friend’s legs, injured his arm and threw him into a more than 12-foot deep hole.

“I saw him lying there without his legs. I knew if we didn’t get to him quickly and apply tourniquets he wouldn’t make it, so I jumped in,” he said about his efforts to save his friend. “On the battlefield, we (military members) will do almost anything for anybody out there. I didn’t think about myself. I just knew he needed help.”

His sense of duty and selfless actions came with a cost.

The weight of Guinn’s gear and the impact of his jump into the hole shattered his knees, according to the 14-year veteran. Guinn helped save his friend, but in the aftermath he would require re-constructive surgery on both knees.

“I thought, ‘I’m barely halfway through my career. I have so much to do. I’m going to be fine. I’m going to recover from these surgeries,’” said the high school athlete.  

During this rehabilitation time, he rediscovered the wounded warrior program. He’d been enrolled in the program after his 2010 deployment. After seeing the warrior games in 2013, his commitment to physical and mental rehabilitation grew stronger. 

Although Guinn wanted to take part in the CARE adaptive and rehabilitation sports, he always seemed too busy to make plans to participate. It took some EOD peer pressure to convince him.

“I dragged him to the trials. That’s what happened,” said Master Sgt. Linn Knight, 325th CES EOD technician and warrior games competitor. “In the EOD community, it’s a given you’ll get blown up. There are people who are far worse off, missing three or four limbs. Guinn was humble about his injuries and thought others needed it more.”  

Once there, it was also an eye-opening experience for the quiet, married father of one. He was amazed by the genuine feeling of care among the athletes.

“I decided to go meet other athletes and see what I could offer the team,” said Guinn. “When I was there, I learned how much I could gain from everyone else around me. Seeing what they overcame showed me I could do it too.”

After extensive medical procedures, rehabilitation and physical therapy, Guinn returned to full duty status with his EOD unit the summer of 2015.

“Even though I learned I’m not invincible, I welcome the chance to get back at it. I would be more than excited to deploy with a team again.” he said.  

Twitter
@GenCQBrownJr Thank you for following us sir! We look forward to meeting in the not-too-distant future.
Twitter
Happy Monday @usairforce! Be sure to tune in to the #AFW2Socials planned for this week and stay #connected with us.… https://t.co/4pNi5zd3Ym
Twitter
#HappeningNow the first ever AFW2 Fit Games is on full effect! 💪 Tune in and witness our #Warriors take on this aw… https://t.co/uSGLBql0rm
Twitter
Happy 73rd Birthday to the world's greatest @usairforce! Our team stands proud to be serving our #Airmen and thei… https://t.co/ydcm2cFezL
Twitter
Our #AFW2 team had the great opportunity to speak with @cmsaf_official during the 2020 @AirForceAssoc Virtual Air,… https://t.co/loFoReyEio
Twitter
This #warriorwednesday we recognize retired Senior Master Sgt. Cornelius Twohig. He joined the Air Force in 1976, s… https://t.co/fDb4UOuils
Twitter
The @AirForceAssoc virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference is happening now and #AFW2 has a virtual exhibitor booth… https://t.co/j1gR8O0fKk
Twitter
#HappeningNow SMSgt Benjamin Seekell shares his perspective as a first sergeant on how a unit copes with the loss o… https://t.co/CXuqTIItd1
Twitter
Don't forget to tune in to the #AFW2Socials planned for this week @usairforce ! We're keeping the conversation goin… https://t.co/4CbSlSD6UW
Twitter
We will #NeverForget the tragic events that took place 19 years ago that changed the lives of every American. Take… https://t.co/RBTQZeJKMY
Twitter
#AFW2_warriorwednesday Tech Sgt. (ret.) Joshua Arnett joined the @usairforce in 2004 as a Power Production Speciali… https://t.co/N2tEwjCfcK
Twitter
Powerful testimony on #Suicide Awareness and Prevention. Take the time to listen and #BeThere . https://t.co/3mdLBUFNbC
Twitter
This week has given our #Warriors and #Caregivers a new motto to live by and move forward in their #recovery! What… https://t.co/fnzI1RrtoV
Twitter
#DidYouKnow our AFW2 Caregiver Program equips #Caregivers with the tools and resources they need to allow them "me"… https://t.co/03NwZYs08f
Twitter
#Teamwork is what drives our #Warriors and #Caregivers to success and is something our #AFW2 team embodies each and… https://t.co/uohpbgENHo
Twitter
We are rounding out our last day of the AFW2 #VirtualCareWeek and what a week it has been! Our #Warriors and… https://t.co/wFGqM6SfVB
Twitter
#HappeningNow We are showcasing our first ever #virtual Care Fair where various service organizations will be tunin… https://t.co/0m4AaAAf9t
Twitter
Our #Warriors are learning that there are many ways to stay #active and maintain their physical and mental well-bei… https://t.co/UBWlxLpAUS
Twitter
#Connecting with others is what our #VirtualCareWeek is all about! Our #AFW2 team continues to exemplify what it tr… https://t.co/WOMcmJiJJB
Twitter
We've had so many first time #VirtualCareWeek attendees! Our #Warriors and #Caregivers are really embracing the con… https://t.co/ky7AKs9020
Twitter
5,536
Follow Us