Honoring A Retired Marine Amputee
4 The Fallen's Jaime Fregozo publicly recognized U.S. Marine Corps MSgt William "Spanky" Gibson at the ASA Convention in Oklahoma City, OK, on 10 November 2013.
Master Sergeant William Spanky Gibson enlisted in the Marine Corps May 29th 1989 after graduating from Pryor Senior High School in Pryor, Oklahoma. He attended the School of Infantry and was ordered to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion to begin training as a Reconnaissance Marine. While at 1st Recon Battalion, Spanky deployed in Operation Desert Storm/Shield, Operation Sea Angel (Bangladesh), and Operation Restore Hope (Somalia ’92-93).
Spanky deployed as a member of 1st Brigade Platoon in January 2006. On May 16th, 2006 while on a foot patrol, he was shot through the left knee during a fire fight. His wounds required his left leg to be amputated just above the knee. While rehabilitating at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he started training and competing in Triathlons. From November 2006 to November 2007 he competed in over 12 races including one marathon, two half ironman races, and a three day adventure race in support of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
In May 2007, Spanky was released from patient status to Marine Artillery Detachment, Ft. Sill Oklahoma as the Chief Instructor of Marine Artillery Scout Observers Course and Marine Air Ground Task Force, Fire Support Coordination Course. His duties at Ft. Sill were short lived and he re-deployed to Iraq in January 2008 as a Fires Support Coordination Chief. This deployment made Spanky the first above the knee amputee to return to a ground combat area of operation. He was promoted to Master Sergeant by Lt. Gen. John Kelly, aboard Camp Fallujah, while deployed to Iraq in August 2008.
In October 2008, Spanky was selected to become one of the first two Enlisted Congressional Fellows to Congress. He attended the Georgetown Government Affairs Institute Course in December 2008 and began his fellowship assigned to the Ranking Member House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Congressman Steve Buyer.
In 2008, Spanky was nominated as one of the 10 most inspirational people of the year along with Paul Neuman, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Christina Applegate. He was also personally honored by President George W Bush.
Master Sergeant Spanky Gibson retired from the Marine Corps on August 5th 2011 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. His final duty was as a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Juan Garcia. He received letters of appreciation from all four living Presidents of which he served during his over 20 year career.
MSgt Gibson has been featured in GQ Magazine, Triathlon Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Leatherneck Magazine, Marine Times, USO On Patrol, and many nationwide newspapers and magazines. He has been featured on Fox, CBS, and MSNBC news channels. He was featured during the 2010 Super Bowl, 2010 Fiesta Bowl, and in numerous commercials. He was also the 2011 Coca Cola 600 Honorary starter at Charlotte Motor Speedway in front of 180,000 fans.
MSgt Spanky Gibson is a recipient of the Navy and Marine Parachute insignia, US Army Ranger Tab, Static Line Jumpmaster, along with over 20 other military specialty schools. He has numerous military awards and over 20 meritorious citations to include the Schoville Award for Leadership, AUSA Leadership Award, GQ Integrity Award, and is a Pat Tillman Military Scholar.