December 30, 2009
The USO and the Troops First Foundation have re-deployed six previously wounded soldiers to the Persian Gulf on the third “Operation Proper Exit” tour.
Designed to help bring closure to wounded service members who have been injured in combat, the group is retracing their steps to the areas they once patrolled. The veterans on this trip are:
The veterans on this trip are:
· Captain Sam Brown of San Antonio, Texas
· Master Sergeant Tom Carpenter (Retired) of Hastings, Michigan
· Sergeant Bill Congleton (Retired) of Sutherlin, Oregon
· First Lieutenant Jim Kirchner (Retired) of Douglasville, Georgia
· Sergeant First Class Josh Olson of Spokane, Washington
· Sergeant First Class Mike Schlitz of Moline, Illinois
Operation Proper Exit is one more way that the USO is working to adapt to the needs of troops, said USO President Sloan Gibson.
Advancements in medical evacuation and trauma care give our Wounded Warriors a greater chance for survival. Operation Proper Exit takes the healing process a step further and helps them achieve closure. In June 2009, six amputee combat veterans took part in the first Operation Proper Exit. Since then, 13 warriors have made the trek to 14 bases, reuniting with their comrades, paying respect to those who’ve fallen and reflecting on their future.
"After spending such a great deal of time with our Wounded Warriors, it is evident that the desire to return is important to them," said Rick Kell, founder of Troops First Foundation. "ìThey want to go back for a chance to validate the sacrifices they have made along with their families and those who have not returned. Operation Proper Exit provides that opportunity for closure, as the returning warriors are able to see with their own eyes the progress they’ve helped achieve. It is an honor to make the journey with them."