My name is Zach Wooten. Enlisted, July 1991-16S-Man Portable Air Defense Crewmember. Units: B Btry 4-3 ADA, Kitzingen-Germany; B Btry 1-3 ADA, Ft. Carson-CO; HHC 81st Inf Bde Seattle-WA; C & HHB Btry 5-7 ADA (Patriot), Hanau-Germany; C Btry 5-5 ADA, Ft. Lewis-WA; HHC 181st SPT Bn, Seattle-WA; HHC 81st BCT. Seattle-WA.
Overseas Service: Kitzingen, Germany 1992-1994; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba 1995; Hanau, Germany 1996-1999; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 1997; Balad, Iraq 2004-2005; Louisiana-Hurricane Katrina Relief 2005.
Served during OIF II from 2004-2005. Was wounded my ninth day in country from an enemy 82mm rocket that exploded less than 10 feet away. Suffered a TBI, permanent nerve damage in my left arm, hearing loss, and tinnitus. Still living with the after-effects with the added 'bonuses' of having PTSD and anxiety disorders.
Its been a long, tough road trying to recover and acclimate back into the civilian world. Volunteered to be a part of the Humanitarian mission down in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Served in some of the hardest hit areas to include the 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parrish.
Was medically retired in 2006 but didn't receive any kind of medical retirement from the Army. Fought for 2 1/2 years, and finally had my initial findings overturned. I took on the Army and won! (Whoa-hoo!)
Also, after a couple of years I finally managed to finagle a job at my local Veterans Affairs hospital in the summer of 2008. I was finally able to give back to my fellow veterans! I felt honored to serve those who have served this great nation! But alas, it was only a fleeting moment of happiness. After two years of faithful service my physical and psychological issues precluded me from working and so, no I'm on full disability from both the VA and Social Security. *Sigh*
But, now I get to play 'Dad' more than I have in the last 15 years, which has been really cool! Love being there for my girls. They're my world! Also, I found out that I was approved for the award of the Purple Heart for wounds received in Iraq way back in 2004! The wheels of the Army PAC did actually turn, albeit at a snails pace! Had the ceremony on 3 Apr. 2011. Almost seven years after the fact, but that's okay!
Through it all, my wonderful wife Angela has stood by me since we met back in high school in 1990. Short story; dated, got engaged, married young, had kids young. Have three beautiful daughters; Kaelyn (17), Alysha (13), and Emily (8). Love being a dad!
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