The President and the Sergeant: Six Years, Six Meetings

Today: President Obama greets Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, alongside his father Craig, during a visit to Remsburg’s new home in Gilbert, Arizona (Photo by Doug Mills)


Washington Post (2013): They were introduced near Omaha Beach in France in 2009, when Sergeant Remsburg was part of a select Army Ranger group chosen to re-enact a parachute drop for celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II.

Four months later, on Oct. 1 2009, Sergeant Remsburg was face down in a canal near Kandahar, thrown by the force of a quarter-ton roadside bomb, shrapnel penetrating his brain and right eye. He spent the next three months in a coma, through operations at military hospitals in Afghanistan, Germany and Bethesda, Md., outside Washington. Through the winter of 2010, he was at a veterans’ hospital in Tampa, Fla., where he slowly regained consciousness. In April 2010, he returned to Bethesda for surgery to rebuild his skull.


Their second meeting came less than a year later at a military hospital outside Washington, where Mr. Obama was stunned to see among the wounded troops from Afghanistan a familiar young man — now brain-damaged, a track of fresh stitches across his skull, and partly paralyzed…..

…. the President came for his annual physical and to visit patients. Entering a hospital room, he saw a photo on the wall — of himself and Sergeant Remsburg in Normandy — and did a double take, looking at the broken man lying there, and again at the strapping soldier in the frame.

“Cory still couldn’t speak, but he looked me in the eye,” the president said later. “He lifted his arm, and he shook my hand firmly. And when I asked how he was feeling, he held up his hand, pulled his fingers together and gave a thumbs up.”


The third meeting was in a private visit in Phoenix, where Sergeant Remsburg did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.

There was more. Grasping his walker, “Cory took a step, then another, and then another,” Mr. Obama said later, “all the way across the room.”


In 2014, Sgt Remsburg was a guest of the President at the State of the Union

“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye.  He still struggles on his left side.  But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

Cory is here tonight.  And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.”


Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg is applauded by his father Craig Remsburg, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during President Obama’s remarks at the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)



AZCentral: An ongoing physical recovery, a new home custom-made for his needs – the only other thing that would really make Cory Remsburg’s day was a visit from the president.

That’s just what happened Friday afternoon … which brought the sixth meeting between the former soldier and the commander-in-chief.

After a visit to Phoenix’s VA hospital, President Obama’s motorcade took an unscheduled detour, heading toward Gilbert and pulling up in front of Remsburg’s newly remodeled home.

… As the motorcade pulled out of Gilbert, Remsburg said the visit was “Completely unexpected,” and “very cool.”

“I’m just a sergeant first class,” he said. “I’m no big deal. He’s the commander-in-chief. He’s a very big deal.”

More here

The home came to Remsburg from Homes for Wounded Warriors, the charity started by NFL player Jared Allen. The organization aims to remodel homes for the most severely disabled veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. (More here)


President Obama visits with Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg and family members at his newly finished home in Gilbert, Arizona, March 13, 2015 (Photo by Pete Souza)


136 Responses to “The President and the Sergeant: Six Years, Six Meetings”

  1. 1 vcprezofan2
    March 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm


  2. March 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    It’s an inspiring relationship.

  3. 42 COS
    March 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks Chips.

  4. March 13, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Couldn’t resist …..

    BTW – 278,554 @ 904p EDT …. How about a big TOD push to get it to 500K by Monday evening, 16 March!!!

    • March 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      • 46 EricFive
        March 13, 2015 at 9:37 pm

        Great tweet Bobfr. That is the silver lining I have long seen in the Bibi stunt. Just as the Iran letter served to expose the traitorous behavior of the GOP to the general American public, these GOP stunts and the resulting blow back have been a pleasure to behold. Immediate karma is a rare occurrence and should be savored. Blinded by racist hate (it honestly seems most of these stunts were thought up during all night drinking sessions at the KKK lodge) and existing in the FoxNews bubble of bullshit and deceit, the GOP continues to make politically tone deaf moves. Just as Romney and his supporters erroneously thought the country was racist enough to elect a compulsive lying empty suit who refused to release his tax returns just to unseat the Black president, the GOP erroneously thought the country was racist enough to embrace their openly traitorous behavior just to spite the Black president. Group think, preaching to the choir to the exclusion of everyone else and the need to satisfy the racist base has rendered the GOP incapable of governing. After the sting of the midterm defeat, this is the best any democrat could have hoped.

        • 47 Sandy1110
          March 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm

          Hopefully there are enough Democrats with spine and smarts to make the most of it. They’re still fighting an uphill battle against a corporate-owned media.

        • March 14, 2015 at 2:11 am

          ” Group think, preaching to the choir to the exclusion of everyone else and the need to satisfy the racist base has rendered the GOP incapable of governing. ”

          Could not agree with you more, Eric.

          Now, we just need to get folk to VOTE!!!!!

      • 49 jacquelineoboomer
        March 13, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      • 50 vcprezofan2
        March 13, 2015 at 10:00 pm

        🙂 PBO inherited the knee-jerk support and I think would have found it extremely divisive to slacken the rope, so it’s good that Bibi has been pushing his luck so blatantly.

    • 52 GGail
      March 13, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      I think that’s a great idea Bob! Come on TOD & you too Lukers, if you haven’t done so, please go sign the Petition. YES. WE. CAN!

    • March 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Yes We Can

  5. March 13, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    AMK tried to leave us with his dumb math riddles….well riddle me this 😀 😀 😀

    • 55 vcprezofan2
      March 13, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      From the link…

      Last month, another bride in Uttar Pradesh married a wedding guest after the original groom had a seizure and collapsed at the wedding venue.

      The groom’s family had not revealed that the groom was epileptic. While the groom was rushed to a hospital in Rampur town, the bride asked one of the wedding guests to step in and married him.

    • 56 amk for obama
      March 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      you blew it, didn’t ya?

    • 59 Jeff
      March 13, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      I thought 15 + 6 = 3000…

  6. March 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm


  7. March 13, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    This is a really beautiful post, Chips! Thanks for putting it together….I bookmarked this for any time I need to be uplifted.

  8. 68 No Child Left Behind
    March 13, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Good Evening TODVille!

  9. 69 No Child Left Behind
    March 13, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Yeap. They are around still, mingling with “regular folks” all the while being completely wackos.

  10. 74 GGail
    March 13, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Chips, once again, I marvel at your skills to weave a story so well. I had two other words in my head, but I refused to type them for fear of mis-reading on your part AGAIN 😀

  11. 91 donna dem 4 obama
    March 13, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Good evening TOD. Can anyone tell me if there has been any discussions by the infotainers either on cable or network news about Netanyahu’s situation in the election next week or will it all come as a big surprise to them?

  12. 92 jacquelineoboomer
    March 13, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    What a totally heart-warming story. That father is feeling both the burden of aching for his son … and the power of love, all around them.

    Thank you, President Obama, for never letting ANY of us, rich or poor, sick or well, old or young, forget about HOPE. God bless Cory.

    • March 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      THIS. Beautifully said. My heart goes out to them and their courageous strength.

      • 94 jacquelineoboomer
        March 13, 2015 at 9:51 pm

        Thank you. Can you imagine having President Obama on your side, as you recover from such injuries? As Cory himself said, this is a big deal. (Or as our Joe would say … well, you know the rest!)

  13. March 13, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    couple of random tweets…

    Auburn Grad. Tim Cook:

    Will never get over the fact this is Justice Ginsburg & not Lauren Bacall

  14. 98 vcprezofan2
    March 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    THIS is a very touching story – thanks, Ms Chips for bringing it to our attention! Cory is making progress and has a home modeled to his needs, and we have a president who truly lives out his commitment to those for whom he is CiC.

  15. 102 amk for obama
    March 13, 2015 at 9:50 pm


  16. March 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Robert Reich says the next Dem president should nominate Obama for the Supreme Court:


    • 104 jacquelineoboomer
      March 13, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Yes, of course, he’d be one of the best … but I’d rather see President Obama out and about, rather than “stuck” in the hallowed chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court!

      • 105 vcprezofan2
        March 13, 2015 at 10:19 pm

        x 100%, JO’B

      • March 13, 2015 at 10:20 pm

        He’d made a fabulous Chief Justice. He’d also make a fabulous UN Secretary General. But it’s not possible. Indeed, Barack Obama will continue to be very active. A prominent and influential person all around the world. I don’t know if he plans to rest and just do some writing and teaching. But the world will still need him as a leader. I don’t think he will have a choice. He will continue to “community-organize” the world.

    • 108 Jeff
      March 13, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      wouldn’t wish such a thing on my worse enemy. Could you imagine working along side that snake Alito or Roberts?

  17. March 13, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Go Serena at Indian Wells 2015! Fight Like a Girl!

  18. 115 amk for obama
    March 13, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    who is up for another math numbers quiz?

  19. 116 jackiegrumbacher
    March 13, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Today, a 16 year old boy from our town was struck by an oncoming train and killed on his way to school. He was the friend of the son of dear friends of ours. All of his schoolmates are devastated and trying to cope with the loss. Because fast moving freight trains run right through the downtown streets and in residential areas, train accidents occur frequently. All of the accidents are heartbreaking. This one especially so.

    • March 13, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Oh Jackie, what a soul-destroying tragedy, just 16 years old. The idea of fast moving trains running through downtown streets and residential areas just seems utterly insane, but I assume the cost of detouring them means it’s unlikely to change. What a complete horror.

    • 118 vcprezofan2
      March 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      O, no!

  20. 119 amk for obama
    March 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    A miniature dachshund from Ohio has lost more than 75% of his body weight after being put on a diet-and-fitness regime by his new owner.

    Brooke Burton adopted him two years ago from a relative who fed the dog nothing but junk food.

    Dennis is now 12lb (5kg) after weighing 56lb – almost five time the size of a normal dog of his breed.


  21. 126 GGail
    March 13, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    It just dawned on me

    Cory lives in Arizona

    McCain territory

    Yet, it’s PBO who is there greeting Cory

    Hello? McCain?

    • 127 vcprezofan2
      March 13, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Have you ever seen McCain greet any citizen, except at election time or when he’s yelling at them during hearings?

  22. 128 JER
    March 13, 2015 at 10:29 pm

  23. 134 jacquelineoboomer
    March 13, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, on this one.

  24. 136 Nena20409
    March 14, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Chips, this post is one for the ages.
    With Tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. I am so appreciative of this post.
    What a catalog and illustration of two fine men…….POTUS, the CIC and his Soldier. Truly an unbeatable post. Thank you, Lady Chips.

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