On today's show (June 5) we called USMC Corporal Aaron Mankin in Rodgers, Arkansas to surprise him with the news that the money we raise will go towards Building Homes For Heroes to build him a home.
USMC Corporal Aaron Mankin listed in 2003 before it was considered a war and was called operation Iraqi Freedom. The mission resonated with him, but he didn’t want to just be another pair of boots in the sand, he wanted to be an asset to his unit, so he took his skills as a photographer and storyteller and became a combat correspondent. He started his training and was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and was there to tell the Marine Corps story. He had a camera in one hand and the rifle in the other and would write press releases for the base newspaper for the general, but they were also released online and back in the states. He also did videography that would end up on the evening news. He said that the Marine Corps story is very much the American story, and he would capture those personal connections between the troops and the home front.
While there, he felt it was what he was meant to do. He was able to lean on his skillset and also be a value to his unit and to the mission. Everything that the Marine Corps had their hands in, he was able to be part of it to capture the story.
On May 11, 2005, Mankin’s “alive day” he was severely injured in an explosion that would eventually lead him to have 70 surgeries. He said he remembers everything. While conducting combat operations by the Syrian border, they were on the heels of the Father of Isis and were chasing him out of the country trying to close the Syrian border. While driving they hit a stack mine with an IED that took the lives of six soldiers. Their tank went flying in the air and the heat from the explosion was so hot, all their weapons inside their vehicle started to go off. He was on fire and his first reaction was to gasp which caused him to inhale fire and debris, that would cause surgeons to later dig glass out of his lungs. Panic set in and he knew he had to get out. He found an opening and dove out and landed on the road, he was still on fire and started to roll but couldn’t put himself out. He thought this was how his story would end and to this day, Mankin is still not sure how he survived it. He walked away with no broken bones, just a flesh wound on his face and lost a few fingers, but he had his life. He said his life did not flash before his eyes in the way you would think. Ironically for him he saw still framed pictures of all the people who meant the world to him. As he was trying to hold on to those images, he woke up to the sound of his fellow marines yelling to put him out, which they were able to. That’s when the story of his recovery began.
From there he was put on a chopper and woke up two days later in San Antonio, which is where they started to work on his recovery. He had to undergo 70 surgeries due to the second and third degree burns to his arms and face and had to have some fingers amputated. He also had lung damage and PTSD. Since then, he has gone around to speak about his story and bring awareness all over the country.
To repay Mankin for his service, The Bobby Bones Show has a goal to build him a house that will be adapted for his specific needs through Building Homes For Heroes. Some of the new items for sale include: Patriotic Tie Dye t-shirts, Red Stars tank, American Flag #PIMPINJOY, new dad hats in camo and black, purple long sleeve tee, neon pink tee, grey & black tee, and a tie dye hoodie. Any clothing item (All #PIMPINJOY options) on this page will go towards helping the hero. The new items will officially be on-sale on Friday June 9th at 9 am CT, but a limited quality will be available to purchase June 5th until 12 pm CT.