Marine opens up about surviving IED blast

Posted at 6:17 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 21:17:42-05

A Marine veteran who avoided 10News cameras in the past opened up about surviving an IED blast.

Lance Cpl. Jorge Salazar chose to sit down for an interview with 10News reporter Hannah Mullins to thank the Semper Fi Fund.

"I'm trying to teach him how to do his own shoes," Salazar said about his youngest of two boys.

As a single father, he pushes his boys.

"You going to be basketball player?" he asked his son. "You're going to be tall."

Salazar played as a kid, but stopped when he went to war.

"When I went into Afghanistan, I decided that I was already dead," he said.

Salazar was willing to lay down his life to protect his Marines, so he led the way.

"I stepped on an IED, then I literally said, 'Oh [expletive], I just got blown up.'"

He distinctly remembers being launched into the air.

"I was very fortunate I didn't black out," he added.

Salazar pushed past the pain to call out orders because he was determined to get his guys home.

"If I was worried about surviving, just worried about myself, then how am I going to worry about the person to my left and right? How am I going to get them home?" he told 10News.

Both of Salazar's legs had been blown off.

"My left leg was completely shredded," he explained. "It was straight bone. And then, on my right side, it was bone sticking up to the knee, but the rest was completely gone."

He said he was just doing his job, which only paid $700 or 800 a paycheck. Without asking for help, the Semper Fi Fund was there.

"From day one, when I got to San Diego, they were already telling me what I was going to go through before I knew it," he added.

Salazar said they handed him $1,000 and an iPad to keep track of his medical appointments.

"To this day, they continue to help me," he said.

The Semper Fi Fund even helped Salazar get back into playing basketball.

"They bought me my first basketball chair," he said.

It started as an outlet for him and became a basketball career.

"Who knows, maybe I would have fallen into dark times," Salazar said. "This whole story would have had a different ending."

Now, he uses the sport to show other veterans there are no limits.

"There is nothing you can't do," he explained.

In fact, Salazar said he would do it all again.

"I'd give anything to go back and I'd do anything to stay in," he added.

While his battle wounds are easy to see, people around him see how he is better because of them.

"Everything I do, I have to do 100 percent," he said. "I have four little eyes always looking at me."