USAF Master Sergeant Defeats Odds, Inspires With Emotional Speech at Invictus Games

Israel Del Toro Jr. was given a 15 percent chance of survival in 2005.

— -- U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro Jr. gave a moving speech at the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday night.

Del Toro, more commonly known as DT, was in a coma for three months and underwent more than 120 surgeries after an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2005 left more than 80 percent of his body covered in third-degree burns. He lost fingers on both hands and suffered nerve damage to his right foot, as well as inhalation burns. At the time, he was given a 15 percent chance of surviving.

Del Toro spoke emotionally about his personal story of deployment, injury and the long road recovery, saying that what's most important is how he has persevered and continued to succeed in the years since his injury.

“I will never let the guys who set that bomb get the satisfaction that they ruined my life,” Del Toro told the crowd.

In 2010, Del Toro was the first 100 percent combat-disabled Air Force technician to re-enlist. It took him four years to convince the Air Force that he was ready to report for duty again.

"I had to fight them. I had a lot of people behind me, supporting me," Del Toro said at the time. "From day one, everyone knew I wanted to stay in. I never changed my mind."

This week, Del Toro will compete in powerlifting and cycling at the Invictus Games.