SAN ANTONIO — Wounded warriors from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio displayed extreme resiliency to the visiting soldiers of the 2nd “Stallion” Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, during their trip on Nov. 27.
“We saw a lot of soldiers with severe injuries, but all of them still wanted to contribute, to be a part of the organization,” said Lt. Col. Kelvin Brown, the Stallion commander.
While assigned to his previous unit, Brown was given the opportunity to talk with actor Gary Sinise, where he learned just how much he does for soldiers and wounded warriors.
“He sacrifices his time to go around talking to soldiers,” Brown said. “Something I got out of that, we can never forget the sacrifices soldiers have made. It really stuck with me and I wanted to reach out to our wounded warriors and let them know they are not forgotten, we appreciate all they have done for their country.”
After coordinating with supervisors at the medical center, the Stallions were informed of the itinerary for visiting patrons and chose what interested them.
During their visit, they learned many soldiers feel forgotten by their units.
“We found out a lot of soldiers sometimes don’t receive visits from units. So we want to go down there to let these soldiers know that no matter what patch you are wearing, you are a fellow soldier,” Brown said.
Brown went on to talk about one soldier the Stallions met on their visit, Sgt. Perez, a noncommissioned officer from Fort Riley, Kan. “He is a double amputee, had sustained serious injuries, but the one thing he said was, ‘I still want to be a staff sergeant,’” Brown said.
He found Perez’s words to be inspiring.
“That was humbling to me, after seeing everything he has gone through, and in his mind he was still saying, ‘I still want to be a staff sergeant. I know I am going to have to retire because of my injuries, but I still want to be a staff sergeant,’” Brown said.
Although this was the Stallions’ first trip, they don’t plan on remaining strangers at the facility.
The commander’s goal is for not only soldiers, but also families to visit the hospital two or three times a year.
“We don’t want it to be just the soldiers; we want to get their family members down there as well to work at the Warrior Family Support Center as well,” Brown said about future visits to the hospital. “I want to see if we can get some volunteers to go down there for a day, and possibly cook dinner for some of the wounded warriors and their families.”
Brown saw a similar desire in the soldiers who went with him.
“On our way back to post, the soldiers wanted to know what they can do as an organization to help those soldiers,” Brown said.
Knowing there is a growing desire to return and volunteer made Brown very happy.
“Some of the sacrifices the soldiers made were one of the reasons we wanted to go,” he said. “It is a way to remember our fellow soldiers, let them know they are not forgotten and we are thinking about them. That they are still very much a part of the formation.”