By Kellie Speed
Matt Amos knows what it takes to overcome.
Today, the medically retired, double amputee reflects on his decade-long service in the Marine Corps with gratitude. As the director of patient relations at Peeples Prosthetics and the executive director at Wounded Warriors Outdoors, the father of two daughters has yet another job as small business owner of Admiral’s Pennant.
“Everyone grows beards, but I couldn’t get over the itch until some Special Ops guys told me to use beard oil,” he told U.S Veterans Magazine in a recent phone interview. “I started to make my own and decided to go all natural with it. People started asking me to make some for them and then I started bottling and selling it. I make everything to order. I tried to expand the line twice, but it’s so hard to put a product out that I am not convinced is the best on the market, so I have decided there is nothing wrong with being good at one thing.”
Amos knew at a young age he wanted to join the military.
“I have been interested in the military since I was a kid, dressing up as a Soldier for Halloween,” Amos said. “I was 11 years old at the time of the Gulf War and would listen to the radio reports. After high school, I talked to recruiters, but didn’t enlist at that time. I went to college and figured out school was not my thing, so I went to work for a construction company. While I was there, I worked with some Navy Seabees who all served together. To see that camaraderie and the amount of fun they had together was inspiring.”
It wasn’t long after the invasion of Iraq that Amos decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. “Our drill instructor said don’t go off and get married during our 10-day leave from boot camp, but that’s exactly what I did,” he laughed.
During his first duty assignment with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines Amos deployed twice to Iraq. “The first deployment was fairly uneventful, but on the second, we were about 30 days from leaving in 2006 and I was injured by my first IED that killed LCpl Jeremy Z. Long,” he said. “I was behind him and sustained a gash to my face. They gave me the option to be treated there and stay with the guys or be medevac’d to Germany for surgery. I opted to stay there.”
When the opportunity to reenlist later came about, Amos sat his wife down and had the conversation. “She was behind me 100 percent, so I reenlisted,” he said. “I went to the 24th Marines and had 18 months of training. It didn’t register with me at the time, but that was good for me. That command got me back on the right track for the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines for a year before being deployed to Afghanistan.”
Just three months into his deployment, he was catastrophically injured. “We were out on an overnight mission to a watch area,” Amos said. “There were two ways to go, and we had been down the other route and had security on the other side. I was the fourth guy to go through and must have stepped off the line and stepped on a pressure plate.”
Despite being “injured pretty good,” Amos’ Marine Corps training kicked in. “You’re taught that you are your own first responder, so I tried to tie a tourniquet around both of my legs,” he said. “In those moments, it’s pretty surreal. My first thought was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me—again?’ Thankfully, the guys were there to splint my legs and tie me up. I was surrounded by the best of the best. They are the reason I’m still here.”
While Amos believes his beard oil is an enjoyable luxury, his true fulfillment comes from helping others.
“At the prosthetics office, I mentor new amputees,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to help people navigate the ins and outs of being an amputee. To be able to mentor someone through their darkest times, that’s why I believe I am here. The veteran community is the reason I am the success that I am.”