NCO Receives Bronze Star
April 27, 2009
- Staff Sgt. Nathan Reed has always made a point to emphasize the importance of sharing wisdom with other Soldiers throughout the years
- "Today, I don't think about it much, what happened," said Staff Sgt Nathan Reed. "I'm just happy to be alive, here."
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Staff Sgt. Nathan Reed has always made a point to emphasize the importance of sharing wisdom with other Soldiers throughout the years.
"I share things with my Soldiers that others like my dad, grandparents and mom shared with me to pass it on, so that it may help someone else," he said.
It was to no surprise even to his wife, Belinda Reed, after he thanked a crowd of more than 40 Soldiers, medical and civilian staff members April 17 during his Bronze Star ceremony in the Center for Intrepid foyer, that he also had a special message for fellow amputees.
"Keep on getting better," he said. "Don't look back to what was. Life is full of happiness and great opportunities."
Reed, 39, a Shreveport, La. native, was injured May 29, 2006 while serving as a scout section sergeant for Headquarters Company, Task Force 1-12 Infantry in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His convoy was struck by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, which destroyed his vehicle. Although the company commander was killed in the blast and Reed was seriously wounded, he was able to direct the establishment of security and prepare casualty evacuation for the other U.S. Soldiers and civilian casualties.
He has always looked after his fellow Soldiers, said Reed's wife.
"Sometimes he's called on to lift up their spirits to keep them going and give them hope," she said.
"Staff Sgt. Reed epitomizes the essence of the Army's Warrior Transition Unit mission," said Lt. Col. John Myers, Warrior Transition Battalion commander and host of the ceremony. "He's living the vision of our Army's tremendous programs to care for Soldiers and assist in their return to duty or return to their respective communities as contributing Veterans. He was severely wounded, evacuated, worked through the challenges of healing, and successfully transitioned back to active duty."
"He's doing what an NCO should be doing today," said Maj. Stuart Campbell, officer in charge of physical therapy at CFI and the ceremony's distinguished guest, echoing Myers remarks. "What we're celebrating today is not about a single act or thing, when he was deployed, but it's everything that he's done during the healing process and afterwards."
Myers said Staff Sgt. Reed is a great example of a noncommissioned officer.
After his care at Brooke Army Medical Center CFI, Reed left Fort Sam Houston and went to Fort Knox, Ky., but no one there knew what to do with him, said Campbell. "Being the NCO that he is, he worked to return to Fort Sam where he could be the most effective."
Reed said Campbell was instrumental in his care here. "He was a big influence on me after the injury, when I came here. Maj. Campbell kept me on my toes, pushing me to keep going. He wouldn't let me feel sorry for myself."
"Today, I don't think about it much, what happened," he said. "I'm just happy to be alive, here."
While Reed has been at BAMC, he's healed to a level which allows him to mentor other Soldiers going through similar experiences as he has.
Currently, the staff sergeant serves as the A Company, WTB squad leader under "Continuation On Active Duty," regardless of the extent of injuries.
With COAD, a Soldier is still eligible for promotion and competitive, allowed to reenlist and must be able to work in a military environment without adversely affecting his or her health or requiring extensive medical care. Periodically, Soldiers are re-evaluated to determine if further duty is harmful to their health or detrimental to their interests or the Army's.
Myers said Reed is an outstanding squad leader in the BAMC-WTB.
"He gives back to his fellow warriors every day, mentoring and motivating them to achieve their own successful transition," he said. "He is a shining example of our Army's NCO leadership and selfless determination to succeed in life."
I am proud to serve with him, added Myers.
Receiving the Bronze Star means a lot, Reed said. "It's an accumulation of everything that I've been through in the last 19 years of training Soldiers to do what I've been taught to do."
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service.
"I consider myself a good mentor, who has helped fellow amputees in their recovery process," he said.
With that attitude, Reed continues to pass on words of wisdom to fellow Soldiers. "They (Soldiers) here can identify with me with what they're going through and where I am now. At least I hope they do," he said with a smile.