Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Ward Taft began his career as a general U.S. Navy Corpsman serving in a hospital setting but soon realized he had a calling to do more. That desire led him to serving as a U.S. Navy Corpsman alongside several U.S. Marine Corps Units to include 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, and eventually standing up and serving with the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command as an embedded operator. This career path led to him serving in several combat theaters over a period of 15 years.
Throughout his deployments, Ward received several injuries, including multi-concussive brain and physical injuries. During his last deployment to Afghanistan, Ward received the worst of his injuries when another vehicle struck the one he was traveling in. Ward was thrown from the back of the vehicle into the windshield at a high rate of force.
Ward sustained a moderate brain injury that affected his eyesight, hypothalamus, balance, and cognitive processing center. Ward cannot see below his waist and has limited vision to the right side. He relies on his service dog, Dr. Doolittle, to navigate around daily tasks and to help him with his balance. After a year of recovery and therapy, Ward returned to active duty status to complete his tenure in the Navy. During this time, Ward took the time to mentor Junior Sailors on topics such as leadership and finding tenacity even through tough times.
Ward and his family enjoy volunteering with several organizations that support wounded Veterans. Together, they find that giving back to others is the best way to live and realize how blessed they are. As a family, they want to give hope to those who are a little further back in their recovery journey.
Today, Ward is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management at Western Carolina University. He is on schedule to graduate in June, 2019. Upon graduation, Ward would like to work with a nonprofit organization that specializes in Disaster relief. The Taft family's Carrington House is currently under construction.