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Adam Kisielewski

Photos and text used with permission of
Adam Kisielewski.

Steering Committee Member, Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Adam Kisielewski joined the Marine Corps to serve in the defense of our nation. After graduating from high school in Wisconsin, Adam seized his opportunity and left for Marine Corps Basic Training and School of Infantry.

Sgt Kisielewski did not immediately leave for the battlefield; instead, he was selected during his training for an elite group to provide contingency security for the President and Vice President of the United States at the Presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland. His opportunity for a combat assignment came just a few years later in 2005 when he was assigned to an infantry unit in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and received orders to deploy near Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Everything changed for Sgt Kisielewski on August 21, 2005. While on a mission to determine if insurgents were using a local school in Al Karmah as a base of operations, Sgt Kisielewski and a fellow Marine, Lt. James Cathy, encountered a 97-lb artillery shell rigged as an improvised explosive device to the school door they had just kicked in. The resulting blast killed Lt. Cathy instantly and grievously wounded Sgt Kisielewski, resulting in the loss of his left arm and right leg below the knee and serious injury to his left leg. Sgt Kisielewski received emergency medical treatment on site and was further stabilized at Camp Fallujah before being evacuated to Bethesda Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center for additional treatment and extensive rehabilitation.

Since recovering from his injuries and retiring from the Marine Corps, Adam has dedicated himself to helping returning service members who were wounded or injured while in the service of the United States. He regularly volunteers his time with veteran’s service organizations such as Homes for Our Troops, the Veterans Airlift Command, and Able Flight. He also enjoys spending time with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts in the Battlefield Chapter of the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club. Additionally, he has participated in the Fun Run for Charities to help raise funds for injured veterans.

"These organizations have helped me in some capacity during my recovery and I know firsthand how much of a difference they make. I enjoy paying it forward and helping other veterans in their time of need."

Adam also works to improve the care and quality of life for combat-injured veterans through his professional work. His first job after retiring from the Marine Corps was with the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland where he applied his experience and talents to their Advanced Prosthetics and Human Performance research portfolio. More willing to accept unconventional employment opportunities with nonprofit organizations since his injury, Adam climbed the ranks within Operation Second Chance and accepted a full-time position as Vice President in 2006.

"I never expected to work for a nonprofit. Going from [the] Marine Corps Infantry to the jobs I do now surely would not have happened if not for my injury."

In addition to volunteering and his advocacy work, Adam enjoys spending time with his family, pursing his education, and aviation. Despite the tremendous obstacles Adam faced in pursuit of his dream of learning to fly, he overcame them. In 2012, through a scholarship awarded by Able Flight, Adam completed his flight training and earned his pilot’s license. His determination and personal achievements serve as an inspiration to other service members with orthopaedic injuries.

Serving as a Consumer Advocate for the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program, Adam hopes he and his fellow steering committee members can make life-changing improvements for those suffering from orthopedic injuries.

"Having the opportunity to work with so many outstanding individuals has been highly rewarding. I initially got involved only to ensure the most critical needs would be funded, but the experiences I have taken away from interaction with my fellow steering committee members has far exceeded all of my expectations. It is an exceptional group of people I am honored to work with."