FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Second Lt. Molly James is embarking on a new life since her husband, 2nd Lt. Luke James, was killed in Iraq and she was left with a 6-week-old baby.

On Friday, Sept. 25, at the Marriott Hotel in front of her Family and friends, Molly took the oath of enlistment from her father-in-law, retired Army Maj. Bradley James and is on her way to becoming a physical therapist in the Army.

It has been a Family tradition that the second lieutenant insignia have been passed on from one Family member to another. James swore in his son Luke, when he joined the Army, pinning him with the second lieutenant bars that he once wore.

When Luke died, Molly passed the bars to her sister, Heather, now a first lieutenant and an Army nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The bars were returned to Molly for her pinning ceremony and will be saved in case her son Bradley, now 6-years-old, decides to join the Army.

Luke, with the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., was in Iraq only nine weeks when he and his men encountered an improvised explosive device while on patrol, killing him and one other Soldier instantly. Two others were critically injured.

The two injured Soldiers were sent to Walter Reed. "This is where I was first introduced to physical therapy and my life changed," said Molly, who went to visit her husband's men. "My husband died and his career ended, and without knowing, I was on a life-changing path."

Molly stayed in North Carolina for three years but decided she wanted to be a physical therapist, so returned to San Antonio and volunteered at Brooke Army Medical Center where she was a greeter at the BAMC dining facility.

"The Army has taken such good care of me and my son, I wanted to give back, not just take," she said.

"I assisted wounded warriors with their trays. When I said that I was going back to school and was leaving to put my volunteer time towards helping patients at a physical therapy clinic, I was sent to the Center for the Intrepid where I volunteered from 2007 to 2009. I saw how much progress a wounded warrior makes through physical therapy.

The military has been a big part of my life. I wanted to take care of my Family, and the military is my Family," she said. Molly's parents served in the Air Force.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16