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Photo of wife carrying legless Marine goes viral

Published On: Aug 27 2013 01:59:47 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 04:48:11 PM CDT
Wife carries legless Marine on back

KTVB

A photo of a legless former U.S. Marine being carried on his wife's back is going viral and inspiring thousands.

Jesse Cottle joined the Marine Corps in August 2003, and lost his legs in Afghanistan while on patrol in 2009.

"About five hours into that patrol, into that mission, I was struck by an anti-personnel IED," Cottle told Boise, Idaho, TV station KTVB. "It was a pressure plate, I stepped on it and lost both legs right away."

One of his fellow Marines was wearing a helmet camera, and the explosion that injured Cottle was caught on tape.

"I remember most everything," he said "I was awake the whole time."

Cottle met his future bride, Kelly, during his recovery. She was a swimmer for Boise State and the pair met during a swim meet in San Diego.

"I just remember being very intrigued by him," Kelly Cottle said. "He was just very different and not just because of his legs, just who he was."

They were married last year and now make their home in San Diego.

Recently, while in Idaho visiting Kelly's family, they took family portraits, and the photographer suggested a photo in the water.

"So we said 'Well, you can just pop off your legs and get on one of our backs and we'll take you in' ... because that's just how we get around sometimes, like at the beach," Kelly Cottle told KTVB. "It's just pretty normal, so he hopped back on my back and then Sarah's like 'oh, we'll take some couples shots.'"

The photographer posted one of those shots on her Facebook page, and now it's blown up online.

The picture has received thousands of likes, and hundreds of shares and comments.

One comment reads: "God bless the both of you and thank you tremendously for your sacrifice for our freedom, you are a hero."

Jesse Cottle said the outpouring of support has been humbling.

"It's cool because we represent a lot of people, couples that are going through the same thing, and so it's just an honor to be able to represent that," his wife said.

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