During Fred Lewis’ military career, he toured in Africa, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The “Gold Rush: Winter’s Fortune” star left the service in 2011 after sustaining a nearly-fatal injury in Afghanistan: He was hit in the helmet with a sniper round. “It was a million dollar shot,” Fred told the Tri-City Herald in 2018. While the helmet saved his life it also caused severe neck injuries and the injury that resulted in a broken vertebrae. Fred was declared disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs and began his civilian life. “You talk to the VA, you are disabled,” According to him, the Herald was right. “That’s what they expect you to accept.”
He struggled to accept his post-military limitations and his physical limitations. “I went through a pretty tough transition when I got out,” he told Monsters & Critics in 2020. “I went from being active-duty in combat to disabled-and-unemployed. And that’s a pretty tough transition,” Fred added. The “Gold Rush” standout mentioned on the series that he believes the military was “overwhelmed” with too many injured soldiers. “The care we get is a quick fix, you know, ‘Take these pills, and you’ll feel better,'” he explained, per Military.com.
Fortunately, Fred was able to make a full recovery, and his passion for physical training led him to an appearance on another popular television show before winding up on “Gold Rush.” Keep reading to find out more.