The Wounded Warrior Project is marking its tenth anniversary with a new documentary series called Wounded: The Battle Back Home. Episode 5 is called “Paul: Operation Listen” and focuses on veteran Paul De La Cerda and the Warrior Spirit Band.%embed1%
In July 2005, Paul De La Cerda deployed to Tal Afar, Iraq as part of a unit tasked with clearing routes and foot patrols of improvised explosive devices (IED). During what began as a routine mission, De La Cerda instinctively knew something was off with the mud-covered path their convoy was traveling on. The IED that hit De La Cerda’s vehicle moments later sent his armored truck flying 50 feet in the air and killed a civilian walking near by. De La Cerda survived and later found out he suffered traumatic brain injury. De La Cerda returned home with anxiety, depression, guilt, anger, dizziness, memory loss and the realization that he wasn’t the same person he was before arriving in Iraq.
After he was medically discharged from the Army, De La Cerda connected with Wounded Warrior Project. He found common ground with wounded veterans like himself and discovered music was one thing that kept him from giving up. De La Cerda said, “Without music I would have put a bullet through my brain.” With the support of his caretaker and girlfriend Dianne and veterans of an older generation, Paul founded the Warrior Spirit Band, putting tens of thousands of his own dollars into the project. Having the band gives De La Cerda’s daily life a sense of purpose and provides meaningful connections with countless veterans through music therapy. Wounded: The Battle Back Home follows De La Cerda in the days leading up to a big show at his Rock 4 Recovery studios. Tune in to hear his searing war story and see the direct impact Paul De La Cerda has on other struggling combat veterans.
Wounded: The Battle Back Home airs Sunday, March 23 at 1 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT as part of “Taking the Hill” on MSNBC.