Operation Proper Exit

bensims04's picture

In 2005 Rick Kell, Co-founder and Executive Director of Troops First Foundation, made a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center that would change his life. That visit was the impetus behind Troops First and what Mr. Kell and David Feherty would create three years later.

It was also 2008 that changed my life. A routine mission from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan saw me and my crew charged with an aeromedical evacuation of critically wounded soldiers and Marines. I sat on the cockpit stairs of our C-17 Globemaster III as the flight nurses boarded our passengers. The other crewmembers and myself would shoot each other knowing glances as if to say, "we want to give these guys as good of a trip as we can." But no soldier wants to leave a combat zone the way we left Afghanistan that day.

Four years later I have found a way to support that idea. Operation Proper Exit is an initiative started by the Troops First Foundation for wounded warriors that never had the chance to leave the way they wanted to. You can read more about Operation Proper Exit here at http://www.troopsfirstfoundation.org/int_exit.php

In speaking with Lindsey Kell-Weaver, Program Director of the Troops First Foundation, I have found that I will be able to designate 100% of the pledges for my hike to Operation Proper Exit. After approximately a dozen trips for returning warriors to Iraq in 2010-11, Proper Exit will begin Afghanistan operations this fall. I hope we can raise enough money and awareness to send even just one more warrior to return on their terms.

As tribute to my brother and sisters in the US Air Force Academy Class of 2004 (Ready for War!), my goal is $2004 for Operation Proper Exit. I think we can do it!