Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Day 301 - Standing Ovation for Sgt. William E. Brooks

Specialist William E. Brooks, 23, was injured March 29 when his Humvee was blown up by a roadside bomb in central Iraq. Both of his legs were amputated above the knees as a result of the injuries.

While Brooks was recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Desoto County’s largest homebuilder and other companies donated goods and services to retrofit his Southaven, Miss., home for him and his parents.

Gutted and rebuilt inside at no expense to the Brooks family by Reeves Williams, the home now includes wider doorways and other features designed for use by someone in a wheelchair. The new ammenities will also serve Sergeant Brooks’ father, who was disabled in a 2002 auto accident.

While the renovation was underway, the family's furniture and other possessions were stored outside in two large container pods, loaned to the family by another local business.

When move-back-in day arrived, volunteers from Southaven’s Trinity Baptist church helped haul furniture and appliances into the newly retrofitted home.

Brooks, now promoted to Sergeant, recently addressed a class of 77 licensed practical nurse graduates Friday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The 23-year-old military policeman with the 155th Brigade Combat team said the encouragement and aid of the medics and nurses he encountered made all the difference. Dedicated medical personnel were by his side "... from the time I left camp until the time I got here," he said.

Brooks also praised Walter Reed and its staff. "When I got here at WRAMC on the floors and the wards, there was always a friendly face no matter what I needed ... [staff were] always willing to help [me] and do whatever was needed to make sure I was comfortable," he said.
(Read the entire story here.)

A few days ago, SGT Brooks posted a comment on the 155th BCT Family Discussion Board:
This is new promoted SGT William E. Brooks, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and my family. To my fellow MP's..I love you guys and can't wait until I get to see you again. OF THE TROOPS, FOR THE TROOPS!!

Willie B
From all of us, thank YOU, Sgt. Brooks.
make us proud.

(Thanks to The Commercial Appeal for facts about Sgt. Brooks.)

***In other Tuesday Triumph news: Members of the 155th Brigade Combat Team discovered a weapons cache in an area west of Iskandariyah. Nearly 300 mortar rounds (82 mm) were seized and subsequently destroyed.