Marine Lost Arms, Legs; Wife Tells Lawmakers of Long-Term Cost of War

July 28, 2011 By
Posted in Spouse and Family

An amazing story of courage and determination.


Crystal Nicely, the wife of one of three surviving quadruple amputees in the Marine Corps, put a face to the long term costs of war by sharing her experiences navigating the system as a non-medical attendant for her husband.

“For me, I’m not only my husband’s caregiver, non medical attendant, appointment scheduler, cook, driver and groomer, but I’m also his loving wife faced with my own stresses and frustrations,” Nicely said at a hearing before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “To be clear this is not an issue of being overwhelmed with caring for my husband, but what is upsetting is the lack of support, compassion and benefits for these individuals. It needs to be just a little bit easier.”

Her husband, Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely, lost both arms and both legs when he was hit by an IED during a foot patrol in Helmand province in Afghanistan in 2010. Since his injury, he has spent a year recovering at Walter Reed and has received prosthetics, which enable him to be a little more independent, even recently being able to drive.

“It has been a long journey since that day in the early 2010 and you would think that it would be easy for someone to lose hope and motivation after such a catastrophic injury, but my husband has been a fighter since day one. In recovery, he displayed the same irresistible warrior spirit for which the marines are so beloved,” Crystal Nicely said.

But the Nicely couple has confronted red tape throughout their time at Walter Reed as they’ve struggled with delayed paperwork, and slowly trained warrior unit personnel. Cpl. Nicely waited 70 days for doctor to complete a medical summary for his disability review, which delayed his release from Walter Reed and retirement from the military.

The CBO estimates the medical costs associated with the Veterans Health Administration’s treatment of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could total between $40 billion and $55 billion over the next ten years. READ MORE

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