OTF Soldier Story for September 13, 2010 - Sgt. Chelsey Billing
Current Unit: Dewitt Army Community Hospital
Current Position: Health Care Specialist
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Fort Belvoir, Va.
Hometown: Broadus, Mont.
Years of Service: 7
Earlier this month, the American Legion awarded Sgt. Chelsey Billing of Dewitt Army Community Hospital the Spirit of Service Award at the organization’s annual convention. Presented each year to one member of each branch of the military, the award recognizes outstanding community volunteer service performed while off duty.
“Our nation is fortunate to have such dedicated service personnel as Sgt. Billing who represent the very finest our nation has to offer. For both her military service and her community service, she is a credit to her uniform and to our country,” said American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill.
Billing’s dedication to service is clear, and is shown through her two deployments to Iraq and now through her extensive volunteer work.
For the past two years she has volunteered with the World War II Honor Flight program, a group that provides the opportunity for WWII veterans to visit Washington, D.C. and see the memorial that honors their service. As a volunteer, she handles everything from flight logistics to assisting and escorting disabled veterans once they arrive.
“Both of my grandfathers served in World War II and I wanted to give back,” she said.
The hours of coordination are worth it for Billing, especially when the veterans come to visit the memorial and she is able to spend time getting to know them personally.
“It is an honor for me to hear the stories from the veterans. Seeing the memorial brings back memories for them that they haven’t thought about in quite a while,” she said. “I’ve been to Iraq, but it is a completely different world from the type of war they served in.”
Billing provided critical care to wounded Soldiers during both of her deployments as a combat medic with the 2nd Infantry Division.
“The most rewarding part of my deployment was knowing that we saved lives. It sounds simple but that was our job and people counted on us to know how to do it,” she said. “But the hardest thing to deal with as a medic is that you cannot save everyone, no matter how hard you try.”
Billing is currently stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va., where she continues to care for Soldiers at Dewitt Army Community Hospital. She lives in Woodbridge, Va., which makes it convenient for her to frequently volunteer at the World War II Memorial.
Since the Honor Flight program is managed at the state level, Billing has worked closely with the local chapters of the organization in Kansas and Iowa. In the future, she hopes to work with the groups from her hometown areas of Montana and South Dakota.