By Jacqueline M. HamesOctober 26, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 26, 2010) -- The Warrior's Corner portion of the Army exhibit at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition scheduled a number of speakers to help convey the strength and knowledge of the force today.
Drawing from a gamut of Soldier experience, the Warrior's Corner exhibit aims to convey a broader understanding of the Army -- past, present and future -- as the force is modernized and adapted to maintain it's combat edge, explained Master Sgt. Christine Thompson, non-commissioned officer in charge of Warrior's Corner.
"The Soldiers featured in Warrior's Corner give a face to the resiliency of our troops and their families who have shouldered the burden of nine years of war," she said.
During the presentation "Wounded Warrior Experience," Spc. James Mata addressed the audience via a live video feed direct from Iraq. Mata, who joined the Army at 18, was on a route clearance mission as a gunner when he was seriously wounded by an explosively formed penetrator attack. He recovered fully after nine months, but said the experience tried his family and his personal resolve.
His squad came to visit him in the hospital. "I remember I was very close with every single one of them," he said. "It was very emotional; they were all crying."
"I just felt beaten, like my whole world was stripped away," Mata said. "And I felt defeated, I didn't know what to do. There was nothing I could really do. But they were by my side, they said it was all okay, they said I did a good job."
"I knew it was going to be extremely difficult, but I had to get through it," Mata said.
When he returned home, the faith his parents showed helped him push through the pain and make a full recovery. "I knew I had the support of my family and the support of my friends, and I knew that there was a whole other family in Iraq just waiting for me to get better," he said.
Now he is back in Iraq serving as part of the personal security detail for III Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone.
In another presentation, "Finding Faisal: Objective Jeffersonton," three Soldiers described their experience on a raid to capture or kill Faisal in Afghanistan to disrupt insurgent operations.
Maj. Keith Cater and Master Sgt. William Pouliot of the 75th Ranger Regiment and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brandon Bules of the 160th Operations Aviation Regiment guided their separate teams through a successful raid over rough terrain.
"This operation was number two in a three-part series of systematic attacks," Carter said. "Over the course of all three, we removed over 100 hardened fighters off the battlefield, 37 in Objective Jeffersonton alone."
The insurgents fled and the Soldiers were able to capture a key leader in their operations, Carter explained, allowing the "battle space owner" the freedom needed to continue counter-insurgency operations.
Presentations relaying the personal experiences of Soldiers, like those above, are some of the most popular, Thompson said, and help best represent the purpose of Warrior's Corner.
"A Soldier can tell the story better than anyone else, so having especially the young Soldiers talk about their experiences goes a long way toward letting the audience know what a Soldier is and what they go through," she added.
"Warrior's Corner is a forum for Soldiers to show their experience and knowledge with all the visitors here: the Army Soldiers, Family members and corporate America," Thompson said.