Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks Awarded “Soldier of the Year” by Military Times Foundation

Injured While Serving In Iraq as a Combat Medic, SFC Marks Continues to Excel as a Combat Medic, Paralympic Swimmer

ARLINGTON, VA., February 22, 2024 – Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have announced that Army Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks has been recognized as “Soldier of the Year.”  This prestigious award has been presented for the past 23 years and honors one outstanding military member from each branch of service who has demonstrated exemplary military service going beyond the call of duty.  The non-profit organization returns all proceeds from the annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award event to an array of veterans service organizations which help support the military community and their families.

When SFC Elizabeth Marks, a combat medic, joined the U.S. Army in 2008 at the age of 17, her mission and motivation was to champion the legacy of her family’s military service. While serving in Iraq, SFC Marks suffered bilateral hip injuries, which would shape the rest of her trajectory in the Army and carve out a unique legacy of her very own.

Along an arduous path to recovery, in 2012, SFC Marks discovered a remarkable skill for competitive swimming – and within six months, she’d secured a spot in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, proving her strength and capability as a swimmer. SFC Marks continued to struggled with health setbacks, including respiratory failure that landed her on ECMO life support in 2014. She underwent a below-the-knee amputation three years later in 2017, but SFC Marks remained steadfast in her embodiment of resilience and determination. Despite the obstacles she’s faced, she has excelled as a Paralympic swimmer, earning numerous accolades along the way.

SFC Marks is a 2016 ESPY Pat Tillman Award recipient and a 2017 inductee into the Army Woman’s Hall of Fame. She’s a 2x Paralympian, 5x Paralympic medalist (2x Gold, 1x Silver, 2x Bronze), 10-time world record holder, 15-time American record holder, two-time Games record holder and one-time World Championships record holder. She is the first Paralympic female in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program as well as the most decorated athlete in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program’s history. Working diligently to earn a slot on team USA for the 2024 Paralympic Games, SFC Marks’ inspiration is to be an example of overcoming adversity to pursue opportunity for ill, sick injured and wounded Service members.

“Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Marks, named Soldier of the Year by the Military Times, epitomizes resilience and dedication,” said Michael Reinstein, Chairman of Military Times Foundation.  “From combat medic to the most decorated athlete in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, her journey is inspirational and the epitome of ‘never give up.’   We salute SFC Elizabeth Marks for her unwavering dedication to service and her remarkable contributions to US and allied service members and Paralympic arenas.”

The Military Times Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) established to recognize, salute and highlight the exemplary service of active duty personnel serving in each branch of the U.S. Armed Services.

The annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award has grown into a much-anticipated event. The awards ceremony has become one of Washington D.C.’s A-list events attended by congressional, military and community leaders.  Since 2019 Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have donated over $20 million in cash and media value to support over 150 military and veteran service organizations, such as Fisher House, Children of Fallen Patriots, TAPS, Objective Zero and others.

Sponsors of the event include Fisher House Foundation, Veteran Benefits Guide, Leonardo DRS, IHG Army Hotels, The Nationals and Delta. For more information on the selection process, history of the award, past winners, and other details, visit:



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Kelly Facer
Military Times Foundation

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