Giving thanks at the Natick Soldier Systems Center
November 24, 2009
NATICK, Mass. (Nov. 24, 2009) - The Soldiers and civilians who work at the Natick Soldier Systems Center had a chance to meet a Soldier whose life was saved because of the work done here.
Staff Sgt. (Ret.) William Kleinedler was serving with the 414th Civil Affairs in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in October, 2006, the Humvee that he was driving struck an improvised explosive device (IED). Three Soldiers in his vehicle were killed in the explosion and in the explosion; the vehicle was engulfed in flames. When Kleinedler was finally extracted from the burning vehicle, he suffered second and third degree burns on his arms and face. In his talk to the Natick community, he spoke of the work that is done here in the labs.
"It is because of the work you do that I am standing before you today," said Kleinedler. "My vest that was developed here protected me and there were no burns. My helmet developed here protected me and my goggles developed here protected me. I am thankful for the work that you do to give our Soldiers the best protection possible.
"When I was invited to come to Natick, I just wanted to take the time to thank you. It is because of the work that you have done, I am able to celebrate this thanksgiving," Kleinedler concluded.
Many Army leaders have said that no matter where you are, you are contributing to the welfare of our Soldiers. The workers of the Natick Soldier Systems Center saw first-hand what their research and development meant to the warfighter.
Kleinedler, now retired, has had many surgeries to treat his burns and still faces many more. He is now able to grip a pencil and has returned to his art work.
He has a 19-foot steel sculpture titled "Hope" that is at the Wounded Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.