A Soldier’s Story

First Sgt. Robert Jennings

See also: In the Military


Injured troops start
on the road to recovery

First things first: My "information angel" reports from Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., where Spc. Charles Woolwine is continuing with his rehabilitation. His eighth surgery on his amputated leg was cut short because of infection, but it seems to be under control this week. His pain has been manageable and does not prevent him from maneuvering around the hospital to visit the other two soldiers there.

Spc. Juan Hernandez's family has arrived and spends every day with him encouraging his recovery. His brother reported that he has been able to walk short distances with a walker. Because of the injuries to his abdomen, this is a major improvement over the last two weeks.

Spc. Joseph Salinas was assigned to one of the houses on Walter Reed and continues his recovery and rehabilitation on an outpatient basis. He is recovering well from his gunshot wound except for numbness in his left hand, probably from some nerve damage.

Still no update on Pfc. Cory Ferguson, who was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. We will hopefully receive one this week through Army channels.

Artists Dar and Amere painted a mural of Staff Sgt. Todd Nunes as a gift to the Alpha Gators. Nunes was killed by enemy gunfire on May 2.

The soldiers here are getting back into their normal routines again. Our friends Dar and Amere gave us a special gift. They painted a mural of Staff Sgt. Todd Nunes, the soldier killed on May 2, on the wall leaving the patrol base.

This is a tribute to just how much of an impact he made on the community while he was here. These two local guys asked me if they could do something for their friend.

The mural gets everyone's head back in the game every time they leave the patrol base. Spc. Calan Bryand from Abilene, Texas, said: "When we roll out and I see that, it immediately reminds me of the dangers I'm about to face. It makes me put my game face on."

Our week ended with another town meeting in Amu Shabi. Through an interpreter I was able to explain all the upcoming projects to bring this small poor village closer to the rest of the city. The members have made huge progress by electing a leader and forming different committees to focus on improvement.

I really feel if things continue to improve at this rate, we will have made important allies in such a volatile area of Kirkuk.

God bless and aloha.

With the help of an interpreter, 1st Sgt. Robert Jennings spoke to the village leaders of Amu Shabi.


Get-well wishes

The soldiers in Iraq send letters of encouragement for those wounded. If you would like to send a letter, they can be reached at:

ATTN: OIF Patient, NAME (Charles Woolwine, Joseph Salinas, or Juan Hernandez)
6900 George Washington Ave.
Washington, DC 20307

ATTN Cory Ferguson, Ward 4 West
3851 Roger Brooke Drive
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6200


Texas native
values experience

Pfc. In Cho

This week I'm going to be interviewing Pfc. In Cho, from Manila, the Philippines. He joined the Army in July 2002 from Austin, Texas, where he graduated from high school.

Cho is an assistant gunner in the company 60 mm mortar section. He said that he couldn't have learned what he has here at any school, so it makes this deployment very special.

"With all the different scenarios that we get placed in, learning is the key to survival. This deployment has definitely strengthened my work ethic," he said.

Cho finds it very challenging working and living around the same people day in and day out. "Especially when your boss sleeps right next to you It's like never having a day off," he said.

He also added: "Losing my friends to injury and them being sent back home makes me realize how important it is to live every day for the moment. We live in a dangerous environment, doing a dangerous job."

When I asked Cho what his definition of success would be, he said, "If everyone that is still here flies home with us."

He wanted to say hi to all his friends from 3rd Brigade deployed in Afghanistan and his friends back in Hawaii. He also wanted to tell his mother, Seong Mi Park in Austin, "Don't worry about me, I'm doing fine and studying hard to go to school when I return."

First Sgt. Robert Jennings


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