Two US Heroes– An Injured Soldier & A Beauty Queen Re-Enlist
Two of his fellow soldiers were killed in the same IED attack that put Spc. Christopher Hoyt in the hospital.
Lt. Col. Mark Landes, commander, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., shakes hands with Spc. Christopher Hoyt, an infantryman with 2-23rd Inf., during Hoyt’s re-enlistment ceremony, Nov. 13, in an Army hospital at Logistical Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. Hoyt was injured when an improvised explosive device exploded near him while on patrol near Zaganiyah, Iraq. (DVIDS)
Iraqi soldier, Spc. Christopher Hoyt, re-enlisted for four more years just hours after suffering major injuries from an IED attack.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq – A U.S. Soldier re-enlisted in the Army just hours after being seriously wounded in an improvised explosive attack near Zaganiyah, Iraq, Nov. 13.
Spc. Christopher Hoyt, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., suffered severe lacerations to his legs and torso when an IED exploded near him while conducting a dismounted patrol. Two of his fellow Soldiers were killed in the attack.
Hoyt was rushed to the emergency room at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, where he decided to re-enlist for four more years in the Army.
“He said he wasn’t finished,” said Hoyt’s battalion commander Lt. Col. Mark Landes, who re-enlisted the Soldier. “He said, ‘I still have a job to do.’ I’ve never seen the like.”
Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the brigade’s top noncommissioned officer, was also on hand for Hoyt’s reenlistment.
“It takes a person of very strong character to go through an incident where another Soldier five feet away was killed and he was severally wounded and still say ‘I believe in what we are doing and I want to stay on the team. I want to support the United States Army and my country.'”
…Hoyt, whose hometown is Clemente, Calif., is currently recovering in an Army hospital in Germany.
KXMC has a related picture you won’t want to miss.
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“To me this was an opportunity to give back,” Sgt. Jill Stevens, army medic and current Miss Utah, said when she visited wounded soldiers recently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Sgt. Jill Stevens, Miss Utah 2007 visits with Staff Sgt. John Faulkenberry an infantryman from Midland, Texas, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Oct. 24. (Army.mil)
Miss Utah, Jill Stevens, an Army medic who served in Afghanistan made the rounds recently at Walter Reed.
“To me this was an opportunity to give back,” Sgt. Stevens said during her visit to the hospital. She was accompanied by Sharlene Wells Hawkes, Miss America 1985, and William A. Chatfield, director of Selective Service.
Sgt. Stevens, a self-described “tomboy,” participated in the Miss Southern Utah University pageant because, “I just wanted to do something feminine.” She adapted well, learned to put on makeup and to walk in high heels. She won, and finished third in the Miss Utah 2006 pageant. She was convinced to try again, and was crowned Miss Utah 2007 at the state pageant in June. She will compete against the other Miss America 2008 finalists at the national pageant in Las Vegas Jan. 28, 2008.
“I loved the challenge,” Sgt. Stevens said of participating in the pageants. “After getting into this I realized what this organization (Miss America) brought, why I’m in the military and the link between the Miss America organization and the military.”
Sgt. Stevens said that her fellow contestants appreciate having a combat medic among their ranks and she enjoys incorporating her military life into the pageant world.
“It’s kind of fun,” she said. “Whenever girls get injured walking in high heels they yell, ‘medic!’ and I come running. I say, ‘Grab your battle buddy’ whenever we go anywhere as a group…We do pushups in evening gowns!”
As far as she has traveled as a beauty contest winner, she has traveled even farther as a Soldier. In 2004, she deployed with the 211th Aviation Group to Afghanistan, where she spent one year caring for sick and injured Soldiers. After her return stateside, Sgt. Stevens completed her nursing degree and passed her board examinations to become a registered nurse.
She plans to use her new nursing credentials as an Army nurse, having submitted a application to become a commissioned officer…
“I want to work here (at Walter Reed) and work with the Soldiers,” Stevens said. “If I can help Soldiers – they’re my battle buddies – that means a lot.”