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FEB/MAR 2007

Soldiers in Iraq View Troop Surge as a Lost Cause Single Moms Wear Combat Boots African American Chief Warrant Officer’s Career Spans Decades Two Wounded Vets Transcend Their Disabilities WWW. COLOROFSERVICE.COM

Publisher’s Page Soliloquy on Soldiers in the Surge


urge. This rather innocuous sounding word has come to signify many things to different people. Despite its most conspicuous definition—a sudden or strong increase—it also carries the connotation of something that undulates; much in the manner of an ocean wave. Recently however, it has been employed to describe, what could possibly turn out to be, a last ditch effort by the Bush administration to quell the constant and insistent unrest in Iraq’s capital city Baghdad. The announcement that the US would be committing an additional 23,000 troops in Iraq to bolster the already 140,000 personnel in theater has been warmly embraced by some and greeted with a considerable amount of consternation and skepticism by others. In the case of the former, there is the genuine belief that the additional troops will allow the US to create a greater presence in Baghdad’s most notorious neighborhoods known for fierce gun battles, deadly IEDs, snipers and suicide bombers and as a consequence, precipitate greater stability, infrastructure renewal and expedite the return of American military servicepersons. The latter contend that the troop surge is indicative of a failed strategy that has been beseeched by numerous problems—principal among them poor planning—which has culminated in a desperate attempt to bring stability to a chaotic war torn Baghdad that, for all intents and purposes, is on the brink of an all out civil war. It may be noted that the usage of the word surge to describe the troop increase in Iraq is rather unctuous in nature since even the most obtuse individuals should be able to surmise that it is nothing more than euphemistic parlance for more coarse sounding and less flattering terms such as military buildup, escalation and expansionism. It would also appear that emphasis has invariably been placed on a myopic view of the word surge; principally as it relates to the augmentation of troops. However, it’s worth mentioning that there are a number of “other surges” also worthy of our attention. A certain tangential by product of the troop surge will undoubtedly be the surge in single parent mothers forced to leave their children behind while serving tours in hostile environments, like Sgt’s. Tanisha Hill and Sharon McBride stationed in Kuwait (p. 4). There will also be sizable surges in the number of single and double amputees, like Staff Sgt. Jake Kessler and private first class Amy Strock who lost limbs in IED explosions during a routine convoy in Iraq (p.12). The surge in war fatalities, already in excess of 3,500 and wounded— 25,000 and counting—will invariably insure a significant surge in the number of military dependents who will lose a parent or loved one in combat. The question remains; are the costs associated with the troop surge worth it? The answer, no doubt, is inextricably predicated upon one’s perspective. However, viewing the situation holistically in Iraq leaves me with one lingering and vexing question. How many young men and women must perish before there is a dramatic surge in reason?

Shawn Lindsey Publisher


CEO Leon Thompson, Jr. Publisher Shawn Lindsey Editor-in-Chief Brian S. Bentley Editor Geddes Ince

Entertainment Editor Mike Jones Special Features Editor Lisa Richardson-Lloyd East Coast Representative Selma Lindsey Marketing/Advertising Director Christy Harris Graphic Design COS Viva Vision Public Relations Edward Brantley Advertising & Editorial Offices: PO Box 45589, Los Angeles, CA. 90045 Phone: (310) 628-5621 Fax: (323) 294-3313 email: website: Subscriptions: Color of Service [ISSN 1520-7544] is published bimonthly by Color of Service Magazine, Inc. Domestic (includes APO/FPO addresses) subscription rates are: US $14 (6 issues) 1 year, $26 (12 issues) 2 years, $40 (18 issues) 3 years. International subscription rates are: $30 (6 issues) 1 year, US $54 (12 issues) 2 years, US$82 (18 issues) 3 years. All subscription inquiries/address changes should be directed to: Subscription Department, PO Box 45589, Los Angeles, CA. 90045, or emailed to: It is the responsibility of the subscriber to insure that all mailing information is correct and current. Color of Service is not liable for undeliverable magazine copies of subscription accounts that have either changed without proper notification (at least six weeks in advance) or due to the expiration of postal mail forwarding privileges. Past issue single copies may be obtained at $6 each from the Subscription Dept., PO Box 45589, Los Angeles, CA. 90045. Single article requests should be directed to: (310) 628-5621. All articles are the property of Color of Service unless stated otherwise. No portion of Color of Service may be reproduced or transmitted, in whole or in part, for mass dissemination (for profit or otherwise) by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, by any information storage or retrival system, without the expressed permission in writing from the publisher. Color of Service is a trademark of Color of Service Magazine, Inc.

FEB/MAR 2007




Soldiers in Iraq View Troop Surge as a Lost Cause

My Mommy Wears Combat Boots Two Wounded Vets Transcend Their Disabilities Chief Warrant Officer’s Career Spans Decades Support Group Helps Soldier Earn Pilot License Photo Essay: African Americans in the Military





DEPARTMENTS 3 CAREER CORNER Job Interview Tips 6 FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE Fort Dix Hosts Servicemembers Financial Planning


16 ENTERTAINMENT FOCUS Movie and Video/DVD Releases

SECTIONS 22 HEALTH & FITNESS Accept Your Body and Learn to Have a Positive Self Image 28 MILITARY CUISINE Won Ton Soup



Career Corner

Job Interview Tips By Reggie Thomas

Job interviews are often thought of as a grill ‘em in the hot seat ordeal that leaves applicants squirming and writhing. And they should be. No matter how easy-going the atmosphere, don’t fool yourself. That interviewer is always waiting for the wrong answer. The sooner she hears it she can get on with the next interview. Don’t be dismayed; she wants to hear the right answer. That’s when her job will be done. Once past the initial screenings of cover letters and resumes, the employer knows what your assets are. That’s why you’re here. Now is the time for a more detailed look—to feel out how you might fit with the company and the position. Are you a team worker? Can you solve problems? Are you in it for the long haul? Whether these questions are asked directly or not, it can take as short as two seconds or as long as two hours will answer them. To ensure your success there are a few things you absolutely must do and some things that shouldn’t be done under any circumstance. The Do’s: …Dress for success. Professionalism is always the key and showing you know how to present yourself professionally speaks a thousand words. Even if the environment is more casual than your best Sunday dress, it doesn’t hurt to don it. Doing so says you believe you’re worth a million. This doesn’t give you the license to over do it. Gaudy, flashy, or cutting edge attire can lose jobs. …Keep the vibe positive. When asked why you are leaving your present job, don’t start to complain about mindless job duties, chatty co-workers and your bossy boss. Instead, highlight the positive aspects—you’d like to explore new challenges, learn new skills and broaden your horizon. Honesty is obviously important and you’ll want to use that to your advantage. The Don’ts: …Be cocky. Arrogance is a huge red flag. You may think it points toward self-

assurance, but that’s far from the truth. Cocky behavior is disrespectful and self-centered. It demonstrates disinterest and his rarely well received. Instead, recognize your shortcomings. You don’t have to play them up, just admit you have them. …Say “I can’t” unless you truly can’t. An employer wants to be assured that you can handle the job. There are plenty of people out there who have the drive to discover how they “can” and that’s a lot more attractive. Physical limitations and personal convictions are the only good excuses for “can’t”. If you should choose to say it, be prepared to get passed up.

These tips are meant to be just as flexible as your employer would want you to be. Adapt them to suit your personality and needs, and then use them to nail your next interview. Remember the interview is your opportunity to interview the job. Don’t be afraid to the ask questions that will help you to decide if this position is worthy of putting in a two-week notice.

…Build yourself up to something you aren’t. Be honest with yourself. Be realistic if you aren’t qualified for the position. Fudged facts on your resume and raving reviews about your minimal technical experience might get you the job, but they won’t keep it for you. You’ll get more kudos for admitting your lack of experience than for not filling expectations. …Don’t have stage fright. It’s definitely okay to be nervous; a new job is a big deal—especially when it’s the one that you want. But this is your time in the spotlight. Sit back and enjoy the barrage of questions. More than likely the interviewer is trying to find out how you function under pressure. Show you have what it takes to fill the position by staying confident, keeping cool and thinking your answers through. COLOR OF SERVICE 3

Boo t


y W m m e o M y M


Parents e l g n i S y o d e l p e D

cB nM o r a Sh By Sgt. 1st Class



t 2 a.m., before dawn slides across the sky like a curtain of light, she wakes up and calls for me, “Mommy? Mommy? Oh mommy, where are you?” As her grandma responds to her cries and not me, she begins to sob more hysterically. Refusing to be comforted and becoming more frustrated and agitated because her mommy hasn’t appeared, she slams her tiny head into the wall as though she wants to crack it like an egg. My mother, her grandmother, tells me on the phone sometimes it’s hours before she calms down and goes back to sleep. Where am I? Why am I not taking care of my precious two-year-old daughter? Because I am a Soldier, a single parent, and I have made a commitment to the Army. I am currently deployed far away from my strawberry-blond, blue-eyed baby Lyssa, and despite my longing to be with her, as a Soldier I have given my word that if the call comes for me to do my part in making the world a better place to live, I’ll go. Since May 2006, my active-duty unit, the 4 COLOR OF SERVICE

40th Public Affairs Detachment, has been assigned to U.S. Army Central in Kuwait. We are working in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. And although I am frustrated and feel guilty at times because my absence is the cause of my baby’s distress, I have taken comfort in the fact that I am not alone. As we march on through another year of OIF, I’m finding a lot of single parents have made the difficult choice to leave their children in the care of others in order to do their part in the War on Terrorism. Over the years the number of single parents has been steadily on the rise in the Army and by fiscal year 2005, the Defense Manpower Data Center reported that 6 percent of male enlisted Soldiers were single parents and 15 percent of female enlisted Soldiers were single parents. Of these single parents, many have already completed more than one deployment; many are working on their second or third since OIF officially started in 2003. Astonishingly, they are not only balancing their commitments to their nation, but to

their families as well. “I can’t be there but I call home every weekend,” said Spc. Jason Kosek, a signal systems specialist, 3/126th Aviation with the Massachusetts National Guard. “And I e-mail my daughter every day.” The single parent of five-year-old Emily, Kosek is finishing the last few months of a yearlong tour. Looking back, he said, “leaving my daughter and deploying was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do” - harder than being a single parent. “Up until this point I’ve been there for everything,” he said. “Her first steps, her first tooth - all her firsts. So this has been really hard on both of us.” His daughter just started kindergarten. “This is the first time I’ve missed something.” As a single parent, he said, he could have chosen not to deploy. It would have been as simple as not putting a ‘family care plan’ in, he said. But those Soldiers who don’t have a “family care plan” are permanently chaptered out of the Army. A consequence he just didn’t want to risk. And although it’s been hard, Kosek said he feels he made

by and it was unbelievable how much she had changed. “It really bothers me sometimes that I am not able to be there to see her grow up,” she said. “Before I know it, she’ll be a teenager. My mother said there’s still plenty of years left to be with her, but I feel like this is the crucial time.”

Sgt. Tenisha Hill, a registered mail clerk, with the 721st Postal Unit in Kuwait

the right choice. “Since I’ve been away from my daughter, I definitely don’t take the smaller things for granted,” he said. “My daughter always likes to hang on me, you know like an additional appendage. But, over time as a parent you learn to ignore it. I found that I miss that. “But I feel that we [as Soldiers] have joined the military freely,” he said. “It’s our choice to serve. I feel [that] every Soldier needs to keep their word. We need to keep our promises. “I don’t think I would be able to look my daughter in the eye and say I bailed on my obligations to the military so I could be with you,” he said. “I didn’t keep my word. How would she respect me when she’s old enough to understand what not keeping your word means?” Listening to him talking about his daughter makes me miss Lyssa so much I feel like I can’t breathe. Will I ever feel her chubby little fingers again as they wind in my hair at the nap of my neck when I am carrying her? It’s seems like it’s been so long since I’ve seen her, she doesn’t seem quite real. I found there are other single, Soldier parents out there that feel the same. “Sometimes I can’t believe that I had her,” said Sgt. Tenisha Hill, a registered mail clerk, with the 721st Postal Unit in Kuwait. Hill is the single parent of two-year old Sanaa Domonique. “I look at pictures of her and it just blows me away. I can’t believe she’s mine. “I saw my baby last on July 4, 2006, during mid-tour leave,” she said. “Almost a whole year had gone

I feel exactly the same way. And I still have a long way to go before I can see Lyssa. This is my second deployment since 9/11. I didn’t have her then, so this time it seems more difficult than the first. I found other single parents who didn’t have children during their first and second deployments, but now they do. “This is my third time being deployed,” said Spc. Cherica Taylor, a Soldier with Special Troops Battalion, Third Army in Kuwait. Taylor is a single mom to three-year-old Tabari. “I tried to show him on a map where I was going to deployed in relationship to where he was going to be staying with his Dad in Georgia,

“But my job gets him what he needs. He has a good life. I don’t really know why I re-enlisted. It sure wasn’t the money. I think it was a chance for us to have a better life.” The key to keeping it together as a single deployed parent, she said, is having a good family care plan. “You have to find people that you can trust,” she said. “A family member or friend that will do things for your children just like you would. Without that peace of mind that your kid is in good hands it just won’t work.” My family care plan lists my mother as my daughter’s caretaker for the duration of my deployment. I am so thankful that my mother is taking care of my child while I am away. Without her help and support I know that I could not do this. But as the War on Terrorism continues, soon there will be an entire generation of U.S. children who have grown up without one parent, or both, due to frequent, constant deployments.

“I don’t think I would be able to look my daughter in the eye and say I bailed on my obligations to the military so I could be with you.” but all he saw was a bunch of water,” My first inclination as a mom is the desire she said. “He doesn’t really understand to sweep my daughter up in my arms and that there is an entire ocean between us.” take her as far away as I possibly can, like to the back woods of Alaska; the one When she’s talking on the phone sometimes, place I can think of where the ugliness of she explained, he’ll ask her to come pick war might never reach her. That desire him up. “He starts crying when I tell him deepens as I read the daily newspapers I can’t,” she said. “I tell him I’m still in here in Kuwait. The front pages often Kuwait. It makes me feel bad.” But Taylor show the smallest victims of this Global said she doesn’t regret her decision to War on Terrorism. They feature photos deploy. “The separation is hard,” she said. of small hands, limbs and angelic faces that have been brutally crushed in rubble Sgt. 1st Class Sharon McBride with picture of from the latest suicide bombing; common her two-year-old daughter, Lyssa. occurrences in this part of the world. They are the kind of photos that American newspapers would never run. These images always end up as unforgettable stains in my mind; “What if that was Lyssa?” But since 9/11, there is no guaranteed safe place for our children. That’s why I serve. So I just take it one day at a time, knowing that I’m part of something bigger - part of a solution, not part of the problem. And when my daughter is old enough to understand, hopefully she forgives me for all the time I spent away from her during her formative years. She’ll be proud because her “momma wears boots.” COLOR OF SERVICE 5

By Gerry J. Gilmore

It was Boston’s second such seminar conducted for the military out of a series of five planned at different installations. In September, Boston conducted his first seminar for servicemembers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. “Money Wise in the Military” and ‘Military Saves’ are vital parts of DoD’s overall financial

The event also featured consumer information booths and additional seminars about credit reports, fraudulent and predatory lending practices, bankruptcy, personal financial planning, savings accounts, investments, home ownership and other topics. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Denise James, 35, said she plans to buy a home in the future. Boston’s presentation was Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Denise James, very informative, James noted. “It 35, gets home-loan information from Freddie Mac representative Althea encouraged me to save more money than Satterfield-White. I am presently,” she said. “Your credit (rating) is very important, so you have readiness campaign, McDaniel pointed to stay on top of your spending.” Navy out. “Military Saves” is a component Seaman Craig Charbonneau, 21, from of “America Saves,” a nationwide the Naval Air and Engineering Station campaign in which nonprofit, corporate at Lakehurst, N.J., also appreciated and government groups assist individuals the seminar. “It motivated me to save and families save and build wealth. some money,” Charbonneau said.

project officer for financial management seminars, said at the day-long event at the Timmermann Conference Center. Military readiness is greatly enhanced if servicemembers aren’t distracted by financial problems, McDaniel explained. DoD is kicking off the new, ongoing program during “Military Saves Week,” observed Feb. 25-March 4. The Fort Dix event featured a seminar by financial management expert Kelvin Boston, host of the PBS television series, “Moneywise.” Boston provided credit management and savings tips, as well as investment advice. Boston said anyone concerned with achieving financial security should save something from each paycheck, eschew hefty credit card bills and avoid costly unnecessary purchases. “You should save your credit for big-ticket items,” Boston said, such as when purchasing a car or a home. 6 COLOR OF SERVICE

“Military Saves” campaign director Sarah Shirley met with soldiers, sailors and airmen and provided planning worksheets for savings and debt-reduction. “Military Saves” is co-sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America, she explained, noting the initiative partners with about 30 other consumer-assistance organizations. “Military Saves” recommends that servicemembers save between $500 and $1,000 in an emergency savings account and pay off their credit card and other debt, Shirley said. “We can change our environment so that it becomes totally cool to have money in the bank,” Shirley declared.

Photo: Gerry J. Gilmore

More than 400 servicemembers learned how they can eliminate their debts and achieve financial security at a free Defense Department-sponsored seminar. The Defense Department has initiated a program called “Military Saves” to change the culture within the military so that servicemembers better manage their money, Brenda McDaniel, DoD

Photo: Gerry J. Gilmore

Financial Independence

Fort Dix Hosts Servicemembers’ Financial Planning Seminar

Military Saves” campaign director Sarah Shirley discusses methods to achieve financial security with Navy Seaman Craig Charbonneau.


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Photo Essay

In today’s military African Americans can be found in nearly every occupation that the armed services have to offer. Their daily contributions continue to underscore the indispensable role that they play in assuring that our military forces are the best and most capable of any nation.



Book Notes


William D. Green

eteran Minneapolis journalist Swanson has crafted a compelling look at the brutal 1963 murder of a local housewife, a case that attracted international attention. With a novelist’s skill, the author opens with the morning of the crime, when a neighbor found the bloodied and battered Carol Thompson at her door in a quiet St. Paul suburb. The victim died soon after reaching a nearby hospital, leaving behind a grieving husband and four children.


rom the chariot to the catapult, the army with the most advanced technology rules the battlefield. Today the U.S military is working on weapons unlike any ever devised, from rifles and other devices carried by ground troops to vehicles and heavy armor. Here a foremost chronicler of military action and weapons guides readers through the most advanced armaments and equipment of today-and tomorrow.

Kevin Dockery


Tavis Smiley

he Covenant in Action was developed to continue the inspirational spirit of the Covenant With Black America and to empower people to take effective action to achieve THE Covenant goals. The information, tools, and ideas presented in The Covenant in Action will enable and inspire people to become agents of change in their respective communities and to become partners in a larger Covenant movement.


James McPherson



Walt Love

or more than three decades, Walt “Baby” Love has touched the lives of more than ten million listeners across the world. Every week he shares his triumphs, challenges, and soul-stirring moments through his award-winning radio programs. He has built a following of millions of listeners and repeatedly shattered racial barriers as a black man in an industry long dominated by whites. Yet this former army paratrooper with the famed 82nd Airborne Division, who served in Southeast Asia, also broke ground as a man of disciplined, abiding faith who refused to bow to corrupt influences.

rolific and much-honored historian McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom, etc.) weighs in on the Civil War in this compilation of 16 essays, most of which have appeared in print before—seven of them in The New York Review of Books. Revised and edited for this collection, the essays read like chapters in a smooth narrative that addresses some of the biggest questions of the Civil War.


wo Wounded Vets ranscend Their

By John J. Kruzel


arissa Strock and Jake Kessler sat in adjacent wheelchairs while prosthetic specialists attached carbon-fiber feet to their titanium legs. Strock, a 21-year-old Army private first class, and Kessler, a 36-year-old Army staff sergeant, are double-leg-amputee Iraq war veterans who forged a friendship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here during painful rehabilitation sessions. Strock accompanied Kessler and his wife, Vanessa, to Sport Rock Indoor Climbing Center here Feb. 2. Disabled Sports USA and the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project brought six wounded veterans here for an afternoon of indoor rock climbing. “A week ago in physical therapy, 12 COLOR OF SERVICE

I heard them say, ‘rock climbing’ and I said, “Oooh Oooh, pick me! Pick me! I wanna go!” Strock said. A prostheticist untied Strock’s pink shoelaces and removed her sneakers, revealing two rubber feet, which he unscrewed and replaced with a pair of carbon-fiber counterparts covered by rock-climbing shoes. Strock had climbed several times before, but this was her first attempt since losing her legs. On Nov. 24, 2005, Thanksgiving Day, Strock was patrolling a southern Baghdad area known as the “Triangle of Death” when her armored vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device. “Two insurgents were apparently in the brush, and they had buried an IED in the middle of the road weeks before,” Strock said. “There was no way to see it and no

Army Staff Sgt. Jake Kessler ties a figure-8 knot into his harness rope as he prepares to climb a 50-foot rock with the heels of his prosthetic feet.

Climbing, in general, empowers you as a human being. Climbing now, for them, empowers them on a completely different level.

way to know it was there. When we drove over it, they blew it. “My team leader died instantly, I’m told. He got thrown through the door and out into some brush that was too tall for them to find him in,” Strock said. “It took about two hours to find him.”

Photo: William D. Moss

The vehicle’s driver also died in the explosion; the .50-caliber gunner and Strock survived. Strock’s left femur was broken in multiple places and her right tibia, ankle and heel were severely damaged in the blast. Cranial swelling left her comatose. When she regained consciousness about a month later, Strock consented to below-knee amputation surgery. Life with two metal legs began. Six months later in Iraq, Kessler’s vehicle was patrolling a Ramallah street when an improvised explosive device detonated under his gunner’s hatch. Kessler suffered two pelvic fractures, five fractures in his back and multiple broken ribs from the blast. “Every move was painful for him,” Kessler’s wife, Vanessa, recalled. “It also shattered my legs pretty bad,” Kessler said, pointing to his titanium replacements.

Continued on page 26

After the explosion, doctors amputated Kessler’s right leg below the knee and his left leg above the knee. A prosthetic knee joint and two titanium legs now stand in their places. But Kessler and Strock refuse to let their situations keep them down. “Climbing is one of the passions I’ve wanted to get back to,” Kessler said. “Being able to get back

here and climb is the first step of many.” In the summer of 2000, Kessler had 45 days free while he prepared to restation in Alaska. He and his future wife spent nearly every one of those days rock climbing. “It cemented our friendship and created the beginnings of our relationship,” Vanessa said. “Rock climbing takes perseverance and strength and patience,” she said. “It is kind of like puzzle solving.” That summer, Vanessa and Jake discovered their lives were meant to fit together. This would be the first time the two climbed together since Kessler’s double amputation. Sitting next to Kessler in a wheelchair here, Strock’s brunette hair sat in a bun above her grey, hooded sweatshirt. Her blue basketball shorts hung around the suction device that connects her real knees to her prosthetic legs. “My goal for the day is to make it up the wall,” Strock said. “ Once, at least. I’m either going to end up leaving here really angry with myself or really happy.” Strock touched the new foot fixtures to confirm their stability, then she stepped onto the climbing gym’s blue, matted floor and walked with a stuttered gait, like a woman on stilts, toward a 15foot rock. As she reached the wall, Strock showed her painted fingernails to Timmy O’Neill, an internationally renowned speed-climber on hand to assist the vets with their climbs. “What am I going to do about these?” she asked. COLOR OF SERVICE 13

Chief Warrant Officer’s Career Spans Decades


he soft spoken nature of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charlie Ward camouflages the trailblazing history of his 38 years of uniformed service. He has traveled the globe in the service to his country, spending time first as an active duty Soldier and then as a member of the North Carolina National Guard. In 1968, Ward and his cousin needed to earn a living. Jobs were scarce in Mount Olive, N.C., so they decided to enlist in the Army. At that time, Ward, who has seven brothers, had members of his family serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. After visiting with an Army recruiter and completing the enlistment paperwork, Ward returned home to find a draft notice waiting for him. My father served in World War II, plus my brother was in the Army at the time,” said Ward. “Back then, jobs weren’t as plentiful as they are now. As young boys, we thought that was the thing to do.” Ward completed his advanced individual training as a helicopter sheet metal repairman at Fort Eustis, Va., before deploying to Vietnam with the 7/17th Calvary. He said that although there are some similarities with the mission in Vietnam and the mission in Iraq, he feels life is better for Soldiers now.The mission is a lot different, but we’re in a modern Army now,” Ward said. “The troops were not as taken care of back then as they are now, and that makes a difference. Back then, if you wanted to eat you got a can of C-rations. Now with the contracted dinning facilities, it gives you a little bit of a home-like atmosphere.” Ward said going to Vietnam was a rush for him. “I was a young lad, so you think going to war is pretty exciting,” said Ward.


Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charlie Ward stands up for his country again 37 years after his first deployment to Vietnam. Wasd, of the 694th Maintenance Company at Camp Al Taqqadum, made history in 1988 when he became the first African-American warrant officer in the North Carolina National Guard.

“As a young Pfc., never having left the state of North Carolina, going to a foreign country for a war, it was sort of an ego trip.” At the end of his tour in Vietnam, Ward returned to Fort Eustis to work as an instructor at his AIT school. “It was challenging and rewarding and I got a lot of experience working with young Soldiers, and was able to share my experiences from Vietnam with them.” Ward left the military for a year before joining the North Carolina National Guard. “After I finished that school, I came back to North Carolina with my wife, and went to work for a company that


manufactures electrical transformers. I had some friends who asked me to come down and join the National Guard.” The first unit he joined was a wheeled maintenance unit, where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant. “I was working with a warrant officer at the time who encouraged me to pursue the warrant officer field,” Ward said. “He told me he thought I was very suitable for it, so


for 21 weeks,” Ward said. “At the time it was called a technical certification course.” He said the course was just as challenging as the warrant officer school he had just finished. “I had a block of instruction for all phases of maintenance, from welding to the machine shop and all general maintenance of equipment. We got a background in some of the new equipment coming into the military at the time and a lot of the old. There were a lot of practical exercises, a lot of hands-on training.” Once he graduated from his technical

“I wanted to make something of myself in the Guard. I didn’t place any emphasis on being black, and the school didn’t put any on race.” I pursued it.” Ward said at the time, the Army changed the method to become a warrant officer, mandating special schooling for the position before awarding

certification course, Ward was appointed to the rank of Warrant Officer 1. “My unit recognized me as being one of the few to go through the active duty

Everyone was treated the same.” Staff Sgt. Sharon Williams, the safety NCO for the 44th Corps Support Battalion and coworker of Ward, said Ward’s achievements are important for African-Americans. “As an African-American myself, it’s something,” said Williams. “Back then, it would have been known earlier because it shows he has achieved something. Today, it seems to mean more to AfricanAmericans.” She said A f r i c a n American Soldiers can look up to his accomplishments. “If they haven’t dealt with segregation situations, then they probably won’t understand it as well. But I hope Soldiers of any color would look up to him.”


When Soldiers earn the rank of warrant officer, they are usually assigned to a new unit as they enter a new phase in their career. Ward said he was excited to receive his appointment, but had mixed emotions traveling to a new unit. “My warrant officer position was in the 696th Maintenance Company. I was a new warrant in a new company and didn’t know anyone, but it didn’t take long to get to know everyone.” Williams said Ward is a good role model for other Soldiers, citing his 38 years of service. ”For him to accomplish 38 years, then maybe it can give Soldiers the motivation to do a few more,” said Williams. “Maybe they will think, ‘He did 38 years, so I can do six more. And when they finish those six, hopefully they’ll think again, well, he did 38, so maybe I can do another six.’”

direct appointments. “I applied for the school at Fort Rucker, and was accepted in 1988. It was mentally and physically tough. At the age of 35, I was in a class full of young flight school cadets. I decided I would graduate or they’d have to kick me out, but I was not going to quit.” Ward said the class was so demanding that during the seven week course, he managed only one phone call and one half-page letter to his wife. After completing Warrant Officer Candidate School, Ward still wasn’t finished with the required training to receive his appointment to Warrant Officer. “I had to go to Aberdeen Proving Grounds

program, and being the first black warrant officer in the state.”Although Ward grew up in a segregated society, he never viewed race as an obstacle to his career. ”I didn’t look at it as a color barrier, and I don’t look at it now as a color barrier. It wasn’t something I was doing because of a racial issue,” Ward said. “I wanted to make something of myself in the Guard. I didn’t place any emphasis on being black, and the school didn’t put any on race.


Ward said the strong support he receives from his wife, Gwendolyn, son Sean, and daughter Shelly help him to keep a positive outlook on life. Williams said this has a calming affect on his coworkers. “He has a cool manner to him, he doesn’t let anything bother him,” Williams said. “He is very humble. It’s just his nature.” Ward said the Army has helped him to achieve several milestones in his life. “I had a vision and set a few goals in life. One of them was to make CW4 [chief warrant officer 4] in 30 years, and I’ve accomplished that. My goal after I retire is to take my wife to every military post I’ve served at in the Army and Guard.” COLOR OF SERVICE 15

Entertainment Focus

Movies Amazing Grace

Are We Done Yet?



The inspiring story of how one man’s passion and perseverance changed the world. Based on the true life story of William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd), a leader of the British abolition movement, the film chronicles his epic struggle to pass a law to end the slave trade in the late 18th century.

Now married to Suzanne (Nia Long), Nick Persons (Ice Cube) has bought a quiet suburban house to escape the rat race of the big city and to provide more space for his new wife and kids Lindsey and Kevin (Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden).

The year is 1973, and Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard), a college-educated AfricanAmerican, can’t find a job. Driven by his love of competitive swimming, Jim fixes up an abandoned recreational pool hall in a Philadelphia slum with the help of Elston (Bernie Mac), a local janitor.

Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is a former Marine Corps sniper who leaves the military after a mission goes bad. After he is reluctantly pressed back into service, Swagger is double-crossed again. With two bullets in him and the subject of a nationwide manhunt, Swagger begins his revenge, which will take down the most powerful people in the country.

Video & DVD Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling), an idealistic inner-city junior high school teacher, inspires his 13 and 14-year-olds to examine everything from civil rights to Civil War with a new enthusiasm. Rejecting the standard Civil Rights curriculum in favor of an edgier approach.

Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear)—a marketing executive at Mickey’s Fast Food Restaurant chain, home of “The Big One”—has a problem. Contaminated meat is getting into the frozen patties of the company’s best-selling burger.

Half Nelson

Fast Food Nation

Flags of Our Fathers

It is the most memorable photograph of World War II, among the greatest pictures ever taken. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for photography and one of the most-reproduced images in the history of photography, the picture has inspired postage stamps, posters, the covers of countless magazines and newspapers, and even the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The photograph made heroes of the men in the picture.

Felon John Lyshitski (Dax Shepard) has figured out the best way to get revenge on the now-dead judge who sent him to jail: watch the official’s obnoxious son, Nelson Biederman IV (Will Arnett), survive the clink.

Jim David (Christian Bale) is an ex-Army Ranger recently discharged from the military, yet still haunted by nightmares of his former occupation. While seeking a position with the LAPD that will allow him to marry his Mexican girlfriend and bring her to the United States, Jim kills time chilling with his best friend, Mike.

Let’s Go to Prison

Harsh Times


Soldiers in Iraq View Troop Surge asa Lost Cause By Tom Lasseter - McClatchy Newspapers Reprinted with permission


rmy 1st Lt. Antonio Hardy took a slow look around the east Baghdad neighborhood that he and his men were patrolling. He grimaced at the sound of gunshots in the distance. A machine gunner on top of a Humvee scanned the rooftops for snipers. Some of Hardy’s men wondered aloud if they’d get hit by a roadside bomb on the way back to their base. “To be honest, it’s going to be like this for a long time to come, no matter what we do,” said Hardy, 25, of Atlanta. “I think some people in America don’t want to know about all this violence, about all the killings. The people back home are shielded from it; they get it sugar-coated.” While senior military officials and the Bush administration say the president’s decision to send more American troops to pacify Baghdad will succeed, many of the soldiers who are already 18 COLOR OF SERVICE


there say it’s a lost cause. “What is victory supposed to look like? Every time we turn around and go in a new area there’s somebody new waiting to kill us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Herbert Gill, 29, of Pulaski, Tenn., as his Humvee rumbled down a dark Baghdad highway one evening last week. “Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting for thousands of years, and we’re not going to change that overnight. Once more raids start happening, they’ll (insurgents) melt away,” said Gill, who serves with the 1st Infantry Division in east Baghdad. “And then two or three months later, when we leave and say it was a success, they’ll come back.” Soldiers interviewed across east Baghdad, home to more than half the city’s 8 million people, said the violence is so out of control that while a surge of 21,500 more American troops may momentarily suppress it, the notion that U.S. forces can bring lasting security to Iraq is misguided. Lt. Hardy and his men of the 2nd Brigade of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo., patrol an area southeast of Sadr City, the stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. A map in Hardy’s company headquarters charts at least 50 20 COLOR OF SERVICE

roadside bombs since late October, and the lieutenant recently watched in horror as the blast from one killed his Humvee’s driver and wounded two other soldiers in a spray of blood and shrapnel. Soldiers such as Hardy must contend not only with an escalating civil war between Iraq’s Sunni and Shiite Muslims, but also with insurgents on both sides who target U.S. forces. “We can go get into a firefight and empty out ammo, but it doesn’t accomplish much,” said Pvt. 1st Class Zach Clouser, 19, of York, Pa. “This isn’t our war - we’re just in the middle.”

Bush’s initiative calls for American soldiers in Baghdad to take positions in outposts throughout the capital, paired up with Iraqi police and soldiers. Few of the U.S. soldiers interviewed, however, said they think Iraqi forces can operate effectively without American help. Their officers were more optimistic. If there’s enough progress during the next four to six months, “we can look at doing provincial Iraqi control, and we can move U.S. forces to the edge of the city,” said Lt. Col. Dean Dunham, the deputy commander of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade, which oversees most of east Baghdad.

Almost every foot soldier interviewed during a week of patrols on the streets and alleys of east Baghdad said that Bush’s plan would halt the bloodshed only temporarily. The soldiers cited a variety of reasons, including incompetence or corruption among Iraqi troops, the complexities of Iraq’s sectarian violence and the lack of Iraqi public support, a cornerstone of counterinsurgency warfare. “They can keep sending more and more troops over here, but until the people here start working with us, it’s not going to change,” said Sgt. Chance Oswalt, 22, of Tulsa, Okla.

Maj. Christopher Wendland, a senior staff officer for Dunham’s brigade, said he thinks there’s a good chance that by late 2007 American troops will have handed over most of Baghdad to Iraqi troops. “I’m actually really positive,” said Wendland, 35, of Chicago. “We have an Iraqi army that’s actually capable of maintaining once we leave.” If the Iraqi army can control the violence, his thinking goes, economic and political progress will follow in the safest areas, accompanied by infrastructure improvement, then spread outward. In counterinsurgency circles, that notion is

commonly called the “inkblot” approach. It’s been relatively successful in some isolated parts of Iraq, such as Tal Afar on the Syrian border, but in most areas it’s failed to halt the bloodshed for any length of time. Wendland and Dunham said,

trying different crap and it doesn’t work.... They’re talking about the inkblot method, and doing that you secure a small area, but the rest is still bad.” America’s



“When we first got here it was, `Let’s put up schools, let’s work on a power plant’ - but you can’t do that without security, and security here is crap.” however, that if the Iraqi forces in Baghdad falter, much of the city could fall to Sunni and Shiite insurgents. “We have to have momentum . . . or else it could all fall like a house of cards,” Wendland said. Leaning against a pile of sandbags last week, 1st Lt. Tim Evers took a drag from his Marlboro cigarette. He said that while sending more troops sounded good, Sunni and Shiite fighters would only move out of Baghdad, fight elsewhere and wait until they can re-enter the capital. Evers’ men were part of the last U.S. effort to subdue Baghdad, Operation Forward Together, which included Iraqi and American soldiers. It lasted most of last summer and ended in failure. “When we first got here it was, `Let’s put up schools, let’s work on a power plant’ - but you can’t do that without security, and security here is crap,” said Evers, 26, of Stockton, Calif. “They keep

to quell Iraqi unrest has been largely unsuccessful, according to statistics compiled by The Brookings Institution, which gets most of its data from the U.S. government. In June 2003, a month after Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq, 18 U.S. troops were killed by hostile fire. Last month, hostile fire killed at least 80 American troops, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a Web site that tracks U.S. casualty numbers from military releases. On Jan. 20 alone, 25 U.S. soldiers were killed, almost one-third more than died in all of June 2003. There are troubling indications in the Brookings statistics that adding more troops only to draw down later to lower levels - as is the current plan - may not bring peace. The coming increase will bring the number of American soldiers and Marines in Iraq to some 153,000. During the country’s national elections in December 2005,

there were 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Fifty-seven of them were killed by hostile fire, and there were on average 90 daily insurgent and militia attacks. In December 2006, when the number of U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq dropped to about 140,000, 95 Americans were killed and there were on average 185 attacks a day. The problem, many soldiers say, is that as long as the majority of Iraqis oppose the presence of American troops, a trend that’s only accelerated since the 2003 invasion, no amount of bullets or bodies will solve the problem. That’s a bitter truth for Sgt. Chance Oswalt and many others on the streets of Baghdad. Oswalt somberly named two men in his company who fought in Fallujah in November 2004, in the most intense urban combat since Vietnam, only to be killed in Baghdad late last year. One bled to death after he was shot by a sniper; the other was killed by a roadside bomb. “All of our friends who have been killed by (roadside bombs) and snipers, it’s like there’s no justice for it - it’s just another body bag filled,” he said. “The guys who died just trying to stay alive and get home, they’ll be forgotten. No one will remember their stories.” Riding on a patrol last week, Spc. Elmer Beere looked out of his Humvee window for any hint of wires leading to a roadside bomb. “It’s kind of relentless and pointless,” said Beere, 22, of State College, Pa. ‘It’ll be the same thing going on here, no matter what we do.”


Health & Fitness

Accept Your Body and Learn to Have a Positive Self Image By Chad Tackett

Because thin females and muscular males are seen as the ideal in our society and because we have come to believe that body size and shape are totally under a person’s control, most people enter diet and exercise programs with unrealistic goals and expectations. If you continually strive to achieve a socially imposed ideal, you will never be free of your

insecurities or your selfconsciousness. You must truly realize and then learn to accept that we are not all meant to be fashion-model size. Our body size and structure reflects not only our eating and exercise habits but also our genetics. The role this latter factor plays in determining weight seems to vary greatly between individuals. We are all born with a certain body type inherited from our parents. Although hardly anyone is a pure body type, there are three different applicable categories: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Characteristically, ectomorphs have a light build with slight muscular development. They are usually tall and thin with small frames and narrow hips and shoulders. Mesomorphs have a husky, muscular build. They often have broad shoulders, and their weight is concentrated in the upper body, making them look compact or stocky. Endomorphs are characterized by a heavy, rounded build with shoulders 22 COLOR OF SERVICE

usually narrower than their hips. They have a round, soft appearance and are more often overweight or obese. When we understand and appreciate our bodies, we are able to work with them, not against them. Although many of us are a combination of two body types, we cannot become what we are not. However, everyone can improve their appearance and their health and performance levels by implementing the principles of a safe and effective eating and exercise program. Even if you have a genetic predisposition to being overweight, the way you live is what ultimately determines whether you become fat. Genes clearly play a role, but they certainly don’t determine what you’re going to have for dinner or how often you

feel good and care about yourself, and that you want to be the very best you can be, regardless of your genetics, regardless of society’s standards. To achieve this level of optimum wellness, you must have a positive self image. This means that your feelings about your body are not influenced by events in your daily life. For many people, life’s problems are projected onto their body. “If only I were thinner-or more muscular, I would have made the team, gotten the job, been chosen. . . . If only I were thinner--or more muscular, I could meet more people, find the right guy/girl, be happy.” This self-defeating habit is reinforced by the images we see in advertising; your body becomes an easy target for everything wrong in your life.

exercise. Chances are if you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle, you’ll become fat and unhealthy.

When you have a positive self-image, you value and respect your body; you are also more likely to feel good about living a healthy lifestyle. No matter how much genetics predetermines how you store and lose fat, the body you’ve been given will still respond positively to being appreciated and treated well. Focusing on fun physical activity and eating healthy foods will help you feel good whatever your size. Developing a healthy, positive image of yourself is the first critical factor in your fitness success. Having a strong sense of selfworth provides the basis for making rational and affirming decisions about your

All of us can’t be thin. But every single one of us can be healthy. By focusing on what you’re eating and how much you’re exercising, you’ll be able to achieve optimum health and fitness, even though you may not achieve society’s ideal of thinness. Accepting yourself does not mean that you’re hopeless and that it’s okay to do nothing. It means that you

health. Good luck, stay positive, and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle!

upport S roup G Helps oldier S Earn Pilot icense L By Edie Rosenthal

Army Warrant Officer 1 Derrick Rodriguez stands in front of his Kiowa Warrior following his graduation from the Army’s Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Ala. 24 COLOR OF SERVICE


rmy Warrant Officer 1 Derrick Rodriguez is literally in the clouds after graduating from the OH-58D flight course at the Army’s Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he learned to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter. But being in the clouds is not what excites this 26-year-old. “Flying 25 feet off the ground is the greatest adrenaline rush,” said Rodriguez, who has dreamed of flying since he was a young boy. Today he is flying the Army’s Kiowa Warrior, a single engine, double-bladed armed reconnaissance helicopter and the first Army helicopter to have an all-glass cockpit. Rodriguez graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aeronautical Science in 2005, with a scholarship grant provided by the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting the efforts of grassroots organizations in supporting the men and women of the armed forces. “My parents always stressed the importance of a college education,” Rodriguez said, “but everything fell apart when my father was killed.” Rodriguez was just 10 years old when his family got the tragic news that his father was killed, along with six other soldiers, when their medevac helicopter crashed in Iraq while deployed for Desert Storm. The 1991 death of Master Sgt. Eloy Rodriguez Jr., a Special Forces medic assigned to the Special Forces Command, rocked the entire family. “Losing my father meant I had to grow up overnight and life had to be taken seriously,” Rodriguez said. “But I also took everything my father taught me, and I worked hard to be the best at everything I did. I also knew that there were people in worse situations then me.” As the group has done for the past 26 years, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation put Rodriguez through college. The foundation provides college scholarship grants, not loans, to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training. The grants are provided cover tuition, books, fees and room and board. Rodriguez planned to become a commercial airline pilot and earn a degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. While enrolled in college, he

joined the Florida Army National Guard so he could fly. His unit responded to natural disasters and provided airport security. As an Army specialist, Rodriguez was recalled for active duty and spent one year on the ground in Iraq outside of Balad. While deployed to Iraq, Rodriguez decided that a commercial airline was not where he was destined to be. “I had a new challenge – Army helicopters,” Rodriguez said. “I enjoyed being out there and getting dirty.” Although his military duties and deployments overseas or assisting stateside with hurricane relief may have caused a slight delay in the timeline for getting his bachelor’s degree, he was always an honor student and on the dean’s list. Rodriguez, now a warrant officer in the Army, said he is preparing for new challenges that life brings, including the strong possibility of going on another deployment. Although he does not have any children, he said the foundation provides a great sense of comfort to those who do. “Special operators put their lives in harm’s way knowing, at least, that their children’s education will be paid for,” said Rodriguez. Rodriguez also has his eye on the future. He said he hopes to get assigned to the Army’s special aviation unit, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. “All of us at the Warrior Foundation are extremely proud of Derrick and his accomplishments,” said John T. Carney Jr., the group’s president. “If his sights are set on the 160th SOAR, then I have no doubt that is where his path will lead him. He is a wonderful young man, full of talent.” The Warrior Foundation has seen 111 of its students graduate college, and currently has 109 students enrolled in colleges and universities across the country. Another 500 children who have yet to reach college age are in the foundation’s program. In 2006, the Warrior Foundation provided nearly $1 million in scholarship grants and educational counseling to the children of military special operations personnel. “Words cannot express my gratitude for all that the Warrior Foundation has done for me,” Rodriguez said. “It is comforting to know that I will always be part of the Warrior Foundation family.” (Edie Rosenthal is the public relations director for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation) COLOR OF SERVICE 25

legs were gone, every single thing that they ever knew was gone,” she continued. “And all of these things, all the rehab and the climbing and the fishing and the skiing help them take steps to get a visualization of who they’re going to be now.”

Army Pfc. Marissa Strock, a double-leg amputee wounded in Iraq, smiles as she climbs at Sport Rock Indoor Climbing Center in Sterling, Va.

“Don’t worry,” O’Neill joked. “Those won’t be there by the end of the day.” “On belay,” O’Neill said to Strock, indicating he was ready to assist. Strock’s playful smile vanished as she replied, “Climbing.” Surveying the wall briefly, she wrapped her fingers around two jutting rocks, or holds, and then hoisted a titanium leg off the blue mat. “Get the meat of your foot on there,” O’Neill said as Strock fought her way upward. “Yeah! Nice! Commit to it. I’ve got you.” Strock climbed within one

shaved head down the sides of his face; he breathed heavily. He was clearly exhausted. “I can’t get a good grip with these feet,” Kessler told Zach Harvey, Walter Reed’s chief prostheticist, who volunteered at the event. Harvey led Kessler and Strock back to their wheelchairs, where he modified their prostheses. “It kind of sucks when you get up there and one of your limbs falls off,” Strock said as Harvey adjusted the suction device between her knee and leg. “I didn’t even know it fell until I heard

“It’s definitely a cool feeling to know that I’m still able to do some of the stuff that I had fun with before.” step of the rock’s apex when the suction device keeping her knee and prosthetic leg together loosened. As she lifted her knee toward the next-highest hold, the titanium leg detached and fell to the matted floor in a crash. “Watch out for falling limbs!” she chided. Strock’s laughter masked her disappointment at failing to reach the top. “Nice job,” O’Neill told Strock once she had returned to the bottom. “You’ve set your next project.” On an adjacent wall, Kessler, halfway up a 15-foot rock, struggled toward the top when his progress suddenly halted. “He’s using so much more of the bicep,” Jeremy Hardin, Sport Rock Center’s “route setting” director, explained. “Climbing is supposed to be all about your legs. “(Kessler) can’t bend at the knee,” Hardin said, “So he is going to have to learn to adapt.” Kessler rappelled to the rock base and lay flat on the blue mats. Beads of sweat dripped from his 26 COLOR OF SERVICE

it hit the ground and saw it laying there.” Harvey secured Strock’s prostheses. For Kessler, the prostheticist tried something revolutionary; he turned Kessler’s feet around 180 degrees. On her next climb, Strock reached the rock’s apex and slapped her hand defiantly on its top. “It’s definitely a cool feeling to know that I’m still able to do some of the stuff that I had fun with before,” Strock said after descending. A fellow vet told Strock she was the first female double-amputee vet to reach the top of the wall “Oh that was nothing,” she replied. “I can do that in my sleep.” “This was exactly what Marissa needed to boost her confidence,” Vanessa Kessler said about Strock. “Climbing, in general, empowers you as a human being. Climbing now, for them, empowers them on a completely different level,” Vanessa said. “It shows them that they can do whatever they want. “When they woke up and their

Vanessa looked on as her husband, climbing with the heels of his prosthetic legs, scraped his way up the 50-foot wall. She fell silent for a moment. “I knew from the beginning that something amazing would come out of this. I didn’t know how; I still don’t know what that looks like,” she said. “But every time that we do one of these events, it helps me get a little bit more clarity on what that means.” As Kessler fought to nearly halfway up the rock, Vanessa brushed a tear from her eye. “Some say that things like this happen only to people that can handle them. Jake is one of those people,” she said. “He just has this light about him that you can see,” she explained. “I don’t really know where it comes from; it’s just part of him.” If Vanessa had been told before Kessler’s accident that he would be here climbing a rock with the heels of prosthetic feet, “It wouldn’t have surprised me at all,” she said. “My husband is one of the strongest, most persevering human beings I’ve ever met. If somebody said he would be climbing Everest in 10 years, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.” Kessler, visibly exhausted, climbed just above the halfway point when he asked to be lowered down. “It’s amazing knowing that you can get out and still do the same things you did before,” Kessler said after his climb. “It helps a lot that there are positive people around me, encouraging me whether I make it to the top or halfway up. “There’s no such thing as a bad climb,” he said. Vanessa pushed Kessler’s wheelchair to him and offered a seat to the worn-out soldier. “Every step in this is just another piece of what our lives are going to look like now,” Vanessa said. “And every new thing that he accomplishes reinforces the fact that we’re going to be OK.“It’s the old spark,” she said. “This is beautiful to watch.” Disabled Sports USA and the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project are partners in the Defense Department’s America Supports You program. The program highlights activities, grassroots groups, corporations and private citizens are doing to support the men and women in uniform.

Military Cuisine

Won Ton Soup


he history of won tons is intertwined with the history of stuffed dumplings and pasta foods enjoyed by many cultures and cuisines. Wonton (or won ton), is the Anglicized form of two Chinese words meaning a small dumpling’ or roll consisting of a wonton wrapper (made form the same dough as egg noodle) with a savory filling, especially of minced pork with seasonings. Sweet wontons, e.g. with a date and walnut filling, also exist. Wontons may be steamed or pan fried or deep-fried; and are often served in soups, or as items in dim sum.The name won ton means swallowing a cloud, and the wonton floating in this popular soup are thought to resemble clouds. This recipe for won ton Soup serves 4. PREPARATION: Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Lay one won ton skin in front of you. Cover the remaining won ton skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying out. Filling the won tons: Moisten all the edges of the won ton wrapper with water. Place a heaping teaspoon of won ton filling in the center. Fold the won ton wrapper in half lengthwise, making sure the ends meet. Press down firmly on the ends to seal. Use thumbs to push down on the edges of the filling to center it. Keeping thumbs in place, fold over the won ton wrapper one more time. Push the corners up and hold in place between your thumb and index finger. Wet the corners with your fingers. Bring the two ends together so that they overlap. Press to seal. The finished product should resemble a nurse’s cap. Repeat with remaining won tons. Alternate method: Place the teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and twist to seal. The final result should resemble a money bag or drawstring purse. Boiling the won tons: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely. Let the won tons boil for 5 - 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon. To make the soup: bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the won tons and bring the soup back to a boil. Add the green onion, remove the pot from the heat and add the sesame oil, stirring. Ladle into soup bowls, allowing 6 won tons per person.


INGREDIENTS 18 - 24 won ton wrappers 1 green onion, finely minced OTHER Water for boiling won tons 4 1/2 - 5 cups chicken stock Green onion, thinly sliced, as desired

FILLING 1/2 pound boneless lean pork, chopped finely 1 teaspoon cornstarch 2 dashes of white pepper 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon oyster sauce A few drops of seasame oil 1 teaspoon sherry 1/2 teaspoon sugar

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