Brian Kolfage is the epitome of a true American hero who meets the vicissitudes of life with the spirit of immortality. He has gone through thick and thin, but he still wears a smile when you see him. Kolfage is a veteran of the American Air Force, triple amputated, and the most seriously wounded pilot ever known in history. He is also the first injured victim to receive the fastest rescue helicopter from a war zone to the United States.
His life changed on September 11, 2004, in Balad, Iraq, in an unfortunate circumstance when he lost three of his limbs. The loss, however, marked a new beginning in Kolfage’s life; career, relationship, and the public’s general perception of who he is. It was the same man who was very close to death at the time. Today he is still alive and bubbling with life. Here you will find everything you need to know about this war veteran, starting with his childhood life.
Brian Kolfage – Biography
Brian Kolfage was born on September 21, 1982, in Detroit, Michigan. He lived in Detroit for the first few years before moving to Waikiki, Hawaii to live with his mother after separating from his father when he was 13 years old. Brian spent the rest of his teenage years in Hawaii, and from there he joined the U.S. Air Force in 2001.
His military service began when he was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base with the 17th Security Forces Squadron. Over time, Brian was assigned to serve in Kuwait in 2003, followed by his second assignment in 2004. He was assigned to serve at Balad Air Base in Iraq. There, on the afternoon of September 11, 2004, a 107 mm rocket grenade exploded three meters from where Kolfage had gone to fetch water. This was the last day that the airman Brian Kolfage used both his legs and his right hand.
He suffered life-threatening injuries, the effects of the explosion on him were so severe that he was hurled several meters into the air before landing on a wall of sandbags. Still conscious, but very close to death, he absorbed the strength to quickly call for help, which quickly came from his fellow pilots in the next tent. Kolfage described the pain he felt like the worst he had ever felt, from the knee down he felt liquefied, and he thought there was a great chance he would die at any moment. Brian could not be given any painkillers because he was losing so much blood, and any painkiller given to him will kill him quickly. The warehouse hospital had to obtain blood from over 100 hundreds of blood donors to keep him alive.
Once he stabilized, he was transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center 36 hours after the attack. He was placed in an artificial medical coma for 4 days. Two months later, he was released from the hospital and began an 11-month rehabilitation trip that included follow-up surgery.
After he recovered, he had to go on with his life and decided to move to Tuscon, Arizona. There he was given a non-military position at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as the base security manager. Brian Kolfage worked in the Air Force facility for two years and was still determined to do more with his life. He enrolled at the University of Arizona to study architecture with support from the Pat Tillman Foundation. He graduated in 2014, but while he was there, he picked up his high school crush again.
Brian Kolfage has contacted Ashley Goetz again, now Ashley Kolfage on Facebook. Ashley had just finished college and was in Texas. He chatted with her on Facebook and they rekindled their friendship. When Ashley flew over to see him, she met a man who, although he had been through so much pain in life, still had many positive prospects. Both realized that they did not want to be separated from each other anymore. Two years later, on May 28, 2011, Ashley became Mrs. Kolfage, and both continued their careers in architecture (Brian) and teaching (Ashley). The duo is now the parent of two children and lives happily together.
Other Facts You Need To Know About Him
- Brian Kolfage received a Purple Heart after his injuries that ended his military career.
- After his recovery, the former aviator began to talk about his experiences and was even a special guest at former President Barrack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2012.
- He launched a GoFundMe campaign entitled “We The People Will Fund The Wall” in support of the border wall built by President Donal Trump between the United States and Mexico. The campaign had a goal of $1 billion and raised over $9 million within 3 days of its launch.
- Brian and his family live in a resort-like house built by the Gary Sinise Foundation. Gary Sinise was touched to reach him after hearing his story at a Skyball event in 2011. When Gary Sinise asked him to apply to the Foundation so that they could build a house that would meet his needs, he initially turned them down, but two or three years later, after they had their first child, the demands placed on him as a parent began to be betrayed given his condition. He reconsidered Gary’s offer, and in 2016 they moved into their new, spacious home.