SAN DIEGO - He survived a deployment to Afghanistan, yet was nearly killed on the streets of El Centro by a man with a knife. On Monday, the Marine corporal was released from the hospital after making a remarkable recovery.
"Glad to be finally up and moving, out of bed and glad to be in good health now," said Cpl. Jonathan Woodard, who sat in a wheelchair outside UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.
Woodard’s throat had been slashed, an artery severed, and that triggered a stroke which left the 23-year old Marine with limited mobility. He has limited use of his hands, and still has a trach tube in his neck to help him breathe.
"He's strong," said Woodard's father, Chuck, who has been at his son's bedside since the attack. "He's tough. He's come a long way."
Chuck Woodard said he cried when he saw his son take several steps down a hospital hallway.
The Marine told 10News he plans on making a full recovery, and he became emotional when asked about all the friends and total strangers who have been pulling for him.
"I just want to say thank you for all the support and prayers that people put out there for me," he said as his voice cracked. "I didn't think a lot of people would be there like that, and it feels good. I know that other people care."
Woodard had hoped to get well enough to join his Marine buddies on a second deployment to Afghanistan this week, but it was not to be.
"Just got a lot of new guys that I've been training that I feel like they could use my help and experience cause I've been there before," he said. Woodard said if his doctors let him, he hoped to be there for the send-off.
As for the men who attacked him, Woodard said he only remembers "bits and pieces."
He said his assailant may have been one of the "sketchy" males he had words with the night before he was jumped.
Woodard said if it were not for his friend watching his back, he might not have made it.
He was transferred to Naval Medical Center San Diego for rehab and physical therapy. He hopes to be back to work at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms later this year.