By Spc. Alexander NeelyDecember 12, 2012
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Dec. 12, 2012) -- Eight wounded Soldiers and Marines visited Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 9, 2012, as part of Operation Proper Exit, an initiative of Troops First Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to provide meaningful assistance to service members who suffered devastating injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During their visit, the wounded service members were joined by Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commanding general for Third Army/Army Central Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Stephan Frennier, senior enlisted advisor for Third Army/ARCENT, for a dinner.
"First and foremost, I want to thank you for coming out here, and commend you for your remarkable strength and courage," said Brooks, who presented the wounded service members with commemorative Third Army/ARCENT t-shirts, shorts and coins. "You are an inspiration to not only us standing in this room, but every service member you met this week."
The visit culminated a week-long trip in Afghanistan, where the wounded Soldiers and Marines took time to speak with service members, tour static displays, and attempt to seek an understanding and/or closure about their injury.
"On a personal note, this trip has been extremely cathartic for me," said Spc. Adam Bate, who was administered a bi-lateral amputation after suffering injury from an IED on Nov. 26, 2009. "During my deployment, I was mainly involved in night missions; never getting the opportunity to meet or speak with locals. But, on this trip two Afghan children gave me a thumbs-up, and I felt it was as if Afghanistan was telling me everything was Okay."
This was the first trip to Afghanistan for Troops First Foundation, but it will not be their last, as the organization plans to return in February 2013.