Wounded Warrior Receives Top Military Police Award

Wounded Warrior Receives Top Military Police Award

Capt. Luis Avila receives award from Army Inspector General Lt. Gen. Donna Martin
Photo by: U.S. Army/Christopher Hurd

Capt. Luis Avila, who has battled back from severe injuries suffered during his fifth combat deployment, inspiring many along the way, has been awarded one of the highest honors given to members of the military police.

“I can’t think of a more deserving soldier and member of our regiment to receive this honor,” Army Inspector General Lt. Gen. Donna Martin said as she presented Avila with the Order of the Marechaussee, silver, according to an Army news release. “Today, we are here because the impossible was made possible with faith, family, courage and prayers.”

In December 2011, while deployed to Afghanistan with the 720th Military Police Battalion, Avila’s vehicle struck a 600-pound roadside bomb, according to the Army. The blast killed three of Avila’s soldiers. Avila survived, but he lost his left leg, suffered two heart attacks and two strokes, and a lack of oxygen caused brain damage. He was almost completely paralyzed and was in a coma for 40 days.

In the years since his injury, Avila has worked hard to eat, speak, see and regain movement in his hands and leg. “I think what has been very important going through my husband's road of recovery has been his courage and discipline to do things,” said Claudia Avila, his wife and caregiver, according to the Army news release. “Since the day that he was capable of listening and understanding, he has been working on how to get better.”

Avila was honored with the Order of the Marechaussee, silver, during a late August ceremony led by Martin at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

The Order of the Marechaussee, silver, recognizes “professionalism, high standards of integrity and morality and esprit de corps,” according to the Military Police Regiment Association website. Today, there are nearly 500 recipients of the silver medal, according to the Army news release.

“It’s an extreme honor to receive this award, and I am extremely grateful for my [military police] brothers and sisters that have supported me along the way,” Avila said. “We really appreciate all you do for us, your service and sacrifice to our nation.”

As Avila continues to recover, he has competed in four Army Ten-Miler races on a bike with his son and earned gold and silver medals at the DoD Warrior Games. He also sings at many events throughout the Washington, D.C., area, including during the National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol in 2017.

Martin said she’s grateful for Avila’s service and example. “Capt. Avila is truly a role model for all soldiers, peers and subordinates alike,” Martin said. “I know I speak for all of us here today when I say that the Military Police Corps Regiment is blessed to have you, Luis, as a member of our family.”