His ancestors were soldiers in the imperial army, fought in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, 1939 September Campaign and 1944 Warsaw Uprising. When in 2007 Jakub Tynka joined the army as a volunteer, everybody thought it a natural thing. Five years later, when he was deployed for the mission in Afghanistan, he was a soldier of the 2nd Assault Company of the 16th Air Assault Battalion.
On July 4, 2012, Polish patrol was securing the sapper work, they searched for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Suddenly, it felt like the surroundings deserted, and the first shot was fired. Corporal Jakub Tynka was hit. He recalls: “It was 9:55 am, I remember it well, because I’ve just looked at my watch. I thought my wife in Poland was about to leave for work. Then somebody turned the light off. I became conscious for a moment, my colleagues were shouting at me to stay with them. I only managed to say that I couldn’t breathe.” They called a helicopter which carried him to Ghazni. He was on the operating table already at 10:20 am.
Jakub was hit in his neck, a half centimeters away from his spinal cord and three millimeters from his neck artery. The list of his injuries is quite long: torn jugular vein and vertebral artery, the brachial plexus and ulnar nerve damaged, emphysema and internal bleeding, lung contusion, and five broken ribs. He lost over 2 liters of blood. When losing his consciousness, he saw his wife smile. “Then I thought I didn’t want to die, not yet,” he remembers.
After two years of rehabilitation, he returned to his military unit. However, he feels the consequences of this accident today. He works as a staff NCO as a soldier “capable for military service, with limitations.” He cannot really reconcile to the fact that he works in the office.
When asked if he could go there again, he answers: “You never really come back from a mission. I know I couldn’t go there to fight, but I could go to work in the staff or in operational center,” he explains.
For the Invictus Games, he chose swimming and cycling, two toughest disciplines. “I sent my application several weeks after I had found out my father was terminally ill. As a young guy, he won many swimming competitions, and he believed I could, too. He had always supported me, and although he lost his last race, I would like to win at the Invictus Games for him,” Jakub says. “It’s my personal tribute to his memory.”
Health impairment: 45%
Missions: PMC Afghanistan 11th rotation
Discipline: swimming, indoor rowing, light athletics (running), road cycling
autor zdjęć: Michał Niwicz