In 2007, Lieutenant Joshua Mantz was on a dismounted patrol just outside of Sadr City in Iraq. As he was standing in front of Staff Sergeant Marlon Harper, a sniper fired a large caliber round from a nearby building. That round passed through Staff Sergeant Harper’s chest, killing him instantly. That same round hit Mantz in the leg, severing his femoral artery. Though wounded, Mantz attempted to assist Harper before noticing that he was also gravely wounded.
Mantz began fighting for his life until he flatlined. Mantz was dead for 15 minutes before a determined US Army medical team was able to revive him. Miraculously, Mantz did not suffer brain damage and he was able to return to his deployed unit in Iraq 5 months later. He continued to serve in the Army, reaching the rank of Major, until he was discharged due to severe Crohns Disease.
But though Mantz had healed from his physical wounds, he was not healed. Throughout the rest of his military career and into his civilian life, Mantz struggled with darkness, depression, guilt, and shame regarding his recovery in the shadow of the loss of his soldier. As a high profile spokesman for the military’s behavioral therapy program, Josh was able to hide his pain behind the shield of his story. It was not until he was able to integrate this darkness into his life that he truly began to heal. His book, The Beauty of a Darker Soul chronicles his journey and he’s made it his mission in life to help others recover from their own invisible wounds.
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