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Triple Amputee Soldier Earns DoD Master Rating Badge

Posted June 24, 2014

Walker (middle) poses with Dorman (left) and Brig. Gen. John F. Haley (right), the chief of ordnance and Ordnance School commandant, after being presented his Master EOD Badge.

In April 2012, Staff Sgt. Chris Walker, a former team leader with the 706th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company, 303rd EOD Battalion out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, was hit by an improvised explosive device during a post-blast investigation while deployed to Afghanistan. He lost both arms and his left leg. His facial bones were shattered, his eye muscles had to be reattached, and his eardrums were ruptured.

Despite the near-death experience, Walker continued to set the example as a noncommissioned officer. Now, two years later, that continuous dedication was recognized by top leaders in the EOD community as they presented him with the Master EOD Badge during a ceremony June 11 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Bethesda, Maryland. It is the only occupational badge awarded across the Department of Defense (DoD) and reflects the highest rating an EOD service member can receive.

“It was a tremendous privilege to be able to present Walker his master rating,” said Maj. Gen. Edward F. Dorman III, the deputy G4 for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff. “He has always been an inspiration to those he taught at the EOD school and his fellow team members during his deployments. He has such a phenomenal attitude and outlook on life. He truly is an amazing, impressive, and resilient soldier.”

Through months of frustration and hardship during recovery, Walker still exhibited leadership traits, impacting the troops surrounding him at WRNMMC with his positive attitude and energy.

“Being injured is not the end of your life,” Walker told a news agency in Virginia. “You just have to keep trying. If you don’t try, it’s not going to get better.”

Editor’s note: This story was adapted from an article by Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers.