The first time Marine Corporal Matt Bradford came home from Iraq, he was carried out. A roadside bomb had taken both his legs and his eyesight, leaving him in a coma.
Last fall, on 60 Minutes Overtime, we followed Cpl Bradford as he finally got a "proper" homecoming--walking off the plane unaided, though wobbly on his new prosthetic legs, to applause and tearful hugs from family and friends. It was an emotional moment, and one that was meant to help Bradford begin a new chapter of life, despite the severe injuries he sustained in battle.
The program that took Bradford to Iraq is called "Operation Proper Exit," and its mission is to give wounded warriors a second chance at a proper departure from the fighting arena.
As soon as 60 Minutes.met Matt Bradford, he knew the Marine would be a big part of the "Operation Proper Exit" story Schuster produced for
But Schuster's story, which first aired last November, only covered the Marine's journey to, and departure from, Iraq. For the servicemen, that's only half the "proper exit" they need.
"It's also about coming home," Henry told 60 Minutes Overtime. "We had been talking with some of the guys on previous trips and they said 'This is what I had been expecting the first time. This is what I imagined coming home would be like.'"
Matt Bradford got that moment when he walked off the plane in North Carolina, a moment we'd like to show you in honor of Memorial Day.
UPDATE: Since this story aired in November, Matt and Amanda married and had a baby girl named Layla. Matt is leaving the Marines this summer. He and his family will move to Lexington, Kentucky, where he will transfer to a community college -- and continue to root for the Kentucky Wildcats.