Corporal Ronald Clayton Barnes Jr.
His friends call him “CJ,” and in recent years Florida native and U.S. Marine Corporal Ronald Clayton Barnes Jr. has called Walter Reed Hospital his home. Born and raised in West Palm Beach, Cpl. Barnes attended Palm Beach Gardens High School and in his junior year met the young lady who would become his wife. Shortly after his graduation, Barnes joined the Marines in 2009, went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. and then attended engineer school at Camp Lejeune, NC. Stationed with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion in Camp Lejeune, he planned to make a career of the Marines, and one day earn a PhD and become a teacher. In April 2011, CJ and the 3rd Marines 4th Battalion was deployed to Afghanistan. Within a month, Barnes stepped on an IED pressure plate (land mine) resulting in the loss of both his legs, and suffering extensive damage to his arms and nose. This American hero has a positive outlook that is contagious. Said Barnes “I choose not to allow my injuries to rule my life. I still live, laugh, and love like nothing has happened.”