Clarksville, Tennessee, US
United States Army
SSGT, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne
Augusta, US, 01/12/2009
At 23 years-old, he’d already topped out in his job at a Kentucky slaughterhouse. He was at the highest pay grade, and there was no opportunity for advancement.
“I didn’t see myself doing that the rest of my life,” said Staff Sergeant Nathan Mudd, now 28, who saw the Army as a way of making a better life for himself.
“I had a lot of family members who were in the Army. It was something I always wanted to do,” he said.
To Mudd, the Army held a certain mystique. There was something about the photos he saw of his uncle dressed in his uniform, with a weapon or photos of him in other countries.
“I could be a bad boy and not get in trouble for it,” said Mudd.
Part of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne, Mudd was assigned to an air assault unit and was on his third deployment to Iraq. On Nov. 1, 2007, he was part of a combat patrol on its way to relieve another patrol when the vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device. The explosion severely damaged Mudd’s left leg, breaking five bones in his leg and foot.“If I had had any more trauma to the leg, I probably would have lost it,” he said.
Mudd is not sure of all his future holds. He’s considering his life outside the military, possibly going to college.
“I’d like to work for the sheriff’s department on a swat team or something,” he said.
If his injuries prevent that type of work, he said he’d like to work as a mechanic specializing in motorcycles. In addition to watching and playing sports, riding motorcycles and four-wheelers is a hobby of Mudd’s. Mudd said he’s been able to focus on the things that are important to him as he recovers. He’s had two visits from his wife, Stephanie, and went home during Christmas to be with her and their daughters, Shanise, Dominique and Niyah.
Sadly, shortly after this interview, Nathan Mudd succumbed to head injuries he received as a result of the IED blast. The head injuries were undiagnosed.