Originally from Metairie, LA, Avila joined the United States Army in 2000. He was an enlisted soldier and obtained his commission via Officer Candidate School (OCS) in 2004. Luis graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Computer Science, and holds a Master’s Degree in Business and Organizational Security Management from Webster University.
As Military Police Officer, Luis served in various positions: Force Protection/Safety Officer, Company Executive Officer, Assistant Operations Officer, Executive Officer, Assistant S3 and Company Commander. He served one combat tour in support of OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE, three combat tours in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM: his last tour in Support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, (OEF).
A true patriot, during his 5th deployment, Captain Avila was leading the 720th Military Police Battalion, HHD, on a mission in Afghanistan during OEF when he was injured during a mounted IED explosion. Captain Avila lost a leg and sustained a severe brain injury and fractured spine. He suffered a heart attack and lay helpless, in a coma when he was returned to the United States.
Weighing the dreaded decision whether or not to let her husband pass, Luis’ wife, Claudia sought help from her faith. She prayed by her husband’s side day and night with no apparent change in his condition – until she began to pray while playing music: Luis’ favorite songs: Ode to Joy, military marches, Beatles… Her faith, tenacity and Luis’ favorite music brought him back. Unable to see, speak or eat,Luis and Claudia fought together to recover his life. Captain Avila’s road to recovery was complicated further by two strokes and a heart attack suffered early in his course of treatment. By sheer force of will, Captain Avila has today regained his vision, speaks, can eat, shares his infectious humor, and from time to time is even said to be doing some golfing.
The recipient of many honors and medals, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Captain Avila lives – and thrives – in Maryland. He continues his rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, MD since 2012.
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