Retired Army Staff Sgt. Michael Kacer, a native of Throop Pennsylvania, served in the military for more than ten years before his retirement in 2010. On June 18, 2008, Kacer and his fellow soldiers were playing spades in a building on a combat outpost when insurgents began firing 110mm Chinese rockets into the combat operations post. Kacer sprung up to react, when one of the rockets came in through a window, hitting the wall next to him resulting in injuries to his head, torso and the amputation of his left arm. The incident ended with Kacer receiving a six-inch fracture across the back of his head, three broken ribs, two collapsed lungs, severed intestines, and his left arm amputated above the elbow.
SSG Kacer is a soldier. He wears the same uniform and carries the same demeanor, same grit, and same determination as the countless others soldiers across the active and retired ranks of the U.S. Army. What sets Michael apart is an injury; an injury that hasn’t slowed down his desire to represent the Army in the military’s premier Paralympic style competition The Invictus Games. He’s made the US Team in 2014 in London medaling in 3 of 9, and in 2016 medaling in 4 of 9.
“The folks at Walter Reed Army Medical Center pushed me to compete, due to my competitive nature,” said Kacer. Competition and training is not just about recovery or physical fitness, it’s more about being in control of himself, and helping his nieces and nephews get more active.
SSG Kacer is a part of a small group of wounded soldiers who have not only spent long hours of rehabilitation to regain a sense of normalcy, but have taken their recovery to a whole new level. Since injury Michael has been an active member of the Achilles Freedom Team and other organizations to complete over fourteen marathons and numerous events and is currently training with the Military Paralympic Program for both track and swimming. Kacer has completed two New York Marathons, Army Ten Miler, Boston Marathon, Bataan Death March, Warrior Games, multiple Hope & Possibilities, Detroit Half Marathon and the Disney Half Marathon to name a few of his outstanding athletic accomplishments.
The Army feels Kacer’s motivation and drive inspires the rest of the team. Each injury has left their scars, but when he gets in the pool, or on the track, the only thing that can be seen is his competitiveness, and the desire to win.