By By Tim Oberle, U.S. Army Cadet CommandDecember 14, 2012
Fort Knox, Ky. -- As a little boy, Antoine Brisbois remembers his grandfather telling him stories of how he witnessed American forces liberate their native Belgium from Nazis' grip during World War II.
"Ever since then I have wanted to be a U.S. Soldier," Brisbois said."
His dream came true this week, thanks to Cadet Command, Fort Knox and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 17-year-old, who has bone cancer, quickly ascended the ranks during his five-day visit to the post, culminating Wednesday with his "commission" as a second lieutenant.
Brisbois had his rank pinned on by Maj. Gen. Jefforey Smith, commanding general of Cadet Command and Fort Knox. During a short ceremony at the command's headquarters, Smith presented Brisbois with a certificate naming him an honorary second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and handed out military themed gifts to Brisbois and his family who accompanied him on the trip.
While it might seem odd for a Belgian citizen's wish to be a U.S. Soldier, Brisbois, whose cancer is in remission, said his grandfather's stories resonated with him.
The "wish" was made possible when the Make-A-Wish Foundation selected Brisbois for their Make-A-Wish program designed to fulfill dreams of individuals suffering from various medical conditions. Once Brisbois was chosen, Make-A-Wish contacted Fort Knox and a plan was put in place.
During his tour of the post, not only did Brisbois receive the honorary commission, but he also participated in a plethora of military drills varying from flight operations to firing weapons. By the time the tour was over, Brisbois already knew what type of Soldier he would like to be in the Army.
"I had the most fun on the ground clearing buildings," Brisbois said. "I would like to be an infantryman."
While his dream of becoming a real member of the U.S. Army might have to wait, it was clear Brisbois enjoyed his time emulating the life of a U.S. Soldier and didn't regret his choice.
"I had a great time on the trip and enjoyed every part of Fort Knox," Brisbois said. "I wouldn't change my decision to come here, even if I could do it over again."