OTF Soldier Story for January 26, 2009 - Sgt. Darryl Wilson
Current Unit: 2nd Battalion, 1-21st Infantry Brigade
Current Position: Personal Security Detail
Component: Georgia National Guard
Current Location: Jonesboro, Ga.
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Years of Service: 18
In his nearly two decades of service in the U.S. Army, Sgt. Darryl Wilson has seen many changes, personally and professionally. He has seen the face of conflict in the Middle East evolve drastically over the course of his deployments in support of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has transitioned from Active Duty service to the National Guard. He became a husband and a father. Through the passing years, the numerous assignments, the many milestones and the undeniable challenges, one thing has remained the same: Sgt. Wilson's pride in wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army and his commitment to his country.
The noncommissioned officer continues to exhibit this commitment today. Currently, he is working through a grueling schedule at The Infantry School at Camp Shelby, La., preparing to deploy again, this time in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A former Army wrestler, Sgt. Wilson now deals with a knee injury he sustained as the result of an IED attack while in Iraq in 2005. He has worked hard to rehabilitate his knee and assures that although his body is not as young or limber as it once was, his heart remains strong.
This power of a positive mind-body connection is a theme that pervades Sgt. Wilson's Army career. In Iraq, Sgt. Wilson and his unit were stationed in an area between Baghdad and Al Hillah that at the time was notorious for being particularly dangerous. While on missions, Sgt. Wilson and fellow Soldiers faced difficult combat situations and an enemy that didn't wear a uniform, or adhere to any standards of conduct. In the face of all this, Sgt. Wilson explains that his unit developed familial bonds that sustained them. He describes his role as an NCO to include characteristics of a mother and a father, and says that in any downtime, he and fellow Soldiers would do things that reminded them of home like playing cards and watching movies.
Sgt. Wilson's own family was a deep source of strength during the deployment and throughout his Army career. He describes his wife of many years as an essential support; a "third leg." Without her, he says, he wouldn’t be able to do his job as a Soldier. In Jonesboro, Ga., where his family calls home, he enjoys spending time with his two daughters, Sheridan (13) and Kerrigan (8). One of his favorite weekly duties is taking Kerrigan to gymnastics class.