Wounded soldiers take a trip of a lifetime

June 28, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Several injured service members are headed to France for a trip of a lifetime.The journey is part of Ride 2 Recovery - a program designed to get troops wounded in combat back on their feet by pedaling bicycles.

Nearly 150 soldiers that are a part of the Wounded Warrior Project are making the trip thanks to the USO in partnership with American Airlines.

"It's going to be the chance of a lifetime, an incredible ride," SFC Justin Minyard said. "I'm extremely fortunate that I was selected to go."

The Special Operations soldier from Fort Bragg has been injured three times. The first time was when part of the Pentagon fell on him during the September 11th attack.

"After 9/11 doctors fixed me up and I deployed to Afghanistan and during combat operations in Afghanistan I was injured again," Minyard said.

After recovering from those injuries, Sergeant Minyard deployed to Iraq where his spinal cord deteriorated to the point he could not walk and was bound to a wheelchair. That is when bicycling with the Ride 2 Recovery program helped him get back on his feet.

"Through adaptive cycling is how I kick started my recovery and Ride 2 Recovery was one of the vehicles I used to do that," he said.

One of the highlights of the trip, the troops get a chance to ride in Stage 6 of the Tour de France.

"We actually are going to get to ride part of that stage ... I can't believe we're going to ride the Tour de France," Minyard said.

When Minyard returns, he says he's planning a 911 mile ride from Fort Bragg to New York to Pennsylvania arriving at the Pentagon on Sept. 11. It will mark the 10th anniversary of the attack that forever changed his life.

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