Grand Marshall James “Jay” Raffetto, Hospital Corpsman, Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division Division
On August 5, 2010 James “Jay” Raffetto, a young Navy Corpsman was seriously injured in Afghanistan by an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion in Afghanistan. He lost both legs above the knee, his left arm above the elbow and three fingers on his right hand.
Raffetto grew up in Chester County and his family lives in Devon. He attended Tredyffrin/Easttown schools and graduated from Conestoga High School. He volunteered not only to become a Corpsman, but to go through the arduous training necessary to become a Special Amphibious Marine Reconnaissance Corpsman (SARC), a highly elite team that provides advanced trauma management for its wounded comrades. Raffetto was one of a handful to successfully complete that training and was serving with the 1st Marine Reconnaissance Battalion when he was wounded.
A year before The Incident, as the military calls what happened to Jay Raffetto he helped train the Marines he’d be working with in Afghanistan. In an interview after that training in November 2009 at Camp Pendleton, CA, Raffetto is quoted as saying, “It’s important for them to know what procedure to follow, because if something were to happen to me . . . they will be able to treat me or anyone else who needs it.” That foresight probably saved his life.
Doctors treating Raffetto say he has a long road to recovery and is currently working hard on his rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Jay and his wife Emily go to therapy twice a day and are making great progress, emotionally and physically. The military has a very strong support system that is assisting the wounded Corpsman with rehabilitation and occupational therapy and training. However, Jay and Emily now face a lifetime of physical, economic and emotional challenges.