By Sgt. Daniel Love
7th Special Forces Group (Airorne) Public Affairs
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, March 5, 2010) – Thousands lined the streets of downtown Daytona Beach, Fla., March 4, to honor CW2 Romulio Camargo, a Special Forces warrant officer who was paralyzed during combat in Afghanistan in 2008.
Sgt. 1st Class Enrique Izquierdo shows off the custom motorcycle in front of the 7th Special Forces Headquarters on Fort Bragg, N.C. before it is presented to CW2 Romulio Camargo at Daytona Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Fla., Feb. 23, 2010. (U.S. Army photos by SGT Jonathan McKenzie )
Camargo was escorted by Sgt. 1st Class Enrique Izquierdo, a longtime friend and comrade who built the entirely custom motorcycle and sidecar attachment with the help of a few Fort Bragg-based Special Forces Soldiers.
"We were privates together in basic training, then went to Ranger school and the Special Forces Qualification Course together," said Izquierdo. "Needless to say, this was a labor of love; Romy is my brother and hero."
The motorcycle was made entirely of custom parts for Camargo, right down to the hydraulic shock absorbers in the floor of the side car to reduce vibration in his wheelchair. His motorcycle has a camouflage paint job and is adorned with military quotes and decals from sponsors.
"We put 'scarred so others can live free' on there just for him, because he lives it," said Izquierdo. "We used to ride together all over the place. He's had a lot of changes in his life, but that doesn't have to change."
Camargo has been rehabilitating in a Tampa, Fla. facility since 2008. Friends say his positive spirit has kept him going during hard times.
"When he got to Walter Reed (Army Medical Center), he was fighting to breathe. His life took a dramatic turn, but he never once said, 'why me?", Izquierdo said. "He got hurt doing what he does, and being a warrior is still who he is, challenges be damned.”
Izquierdo said from start to finish, the project took 31 days to complete. The ride prominently features a 100 cubic-inch engine and street-bobber styling.
"It was my honor to make this bike for him, and he knows I would have done it eventually without sponsors or parades," said Izquierdo. "Despite his situation, he's always upbeat and smiling, which inspires everyone he meets. He's still Romulio, just in a chair."