Golden Anniversary: Blind Navy EOD Officer Swims for Gold Exactly One Year After Combat Injury

Exactly one year after losing his sight in Afghanistan, Navy Lt. Brad Snyder earned a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Christopher Lee / Getty Images for NBC News

An “Alive Day” is the anniversary of the day a wounded warrior was injured in combat. Some look at it as the day he or she escaped death. It may also be the day many of these brave men and women were left with lifelong scars—both visible and invisible.

It is a day to celebrate, not to mourn.

For Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, today is that day—and it is Golden. It was one year ago today that the former Naval Academy swim team captain was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device while on patrol in Afghanistan. One year ago today that a bomb blast took his eyesight but left him with every bit of God-given drive and determination he was born with. Today he is showing the world that he is still just as great—just as valuable—as he always has been.

Today is a golden anniversary for Snyder because less than an hour ago he swam for his third Paralympics medal, this time defeating the competition in the 400-meter Freestyle, finishing with a time of 04:32:41—three seconds faster than his qualifying time.

In the span of one year he has progressed from a hospital bed to the medal stands at both the Warrior Games and the Paralympic Games in London. He is a shining example of the raw talent contained within our Armed Forces and a testament to the quality of rehabilitation through adaptive sport.

Congratulations Lieutenant Snyder! You are a hero and an inspiration to us all. — By Joseph Andrew Lee, USO Staff Writer

Learn more about Warrior Games and other USO Warrior and Family Care programs that help wounded warriors recover from combat injuries through adaptive sports.

Troops. Touchdowns. T-shirts.

This week kicks off a brand new football season.

This year, we want to mark the opening weekend of football with an incredible show of support for our favorite team: our troops.

That’s why from now through the end of the Monday night game, we’re offering you a special way to support our brave men and women: the USO’s brand new, exclusive “Root for Our Troops” t-shirt.

With a generous donation, you’ll be supporting all of the wonderful USO programs that let our troops know we’re there for them — something that’s especially important this time of year. And as an added bonus, the USO will send you a free, limited-edition t-shirt to wear all season long.

Please donate to support our troops and receive your free “Root for Our Troops” t-shirt.

Because of your support — and the support of thousands of patriotic Americans like you — the USO is there for our troops every day. And as our troops continue to make remarkable sacrifices with long stretches away from home and family, your support means more than ever.

With care packages full of the items they need the most, free phone calls to friends and family back home, programs and services committed to reintegrating our healing heroes and so much more, the USO is making sure our troops can always enjoy a touch of home.

So this football season, show our troops you’re rooting for them by wearing your “Root for Our Troops” with pride.

Donate $25 today and the USO will send you a free, limited-edition “Root for Our Troops” t-shirt.

Everyone’s got their own favorite football team and we know we don’t all see eye-to-eye on that. But there is one team that you and I can always agree deserves our ongoing support, cheers and commitment. And that’s our troops.

On their behalf, I thank you for taking part in this campaign and helping us kick-off this football season with a big show of support for our troops. - Kelli Seely, Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer, USO